Across the United States, American Indian and Alaska Native youth ages 15 to 24 are still committing suicide at rates three times the national average of 13 per 100,000 people for their age group, according to the U.S. surgeon general. On the Great Plains, the suicide rate for Native Americans is 10 times the national average. Unemployment hovers at 80 percent, and the life expectancy of 46 years is one year shorter than Haiti’s — 33 shorter than the U.S. average.
That life expectancy shocked me so much that I kept trying to find the specific data and couldn't get it exactly; this is the closest, but it's just for the men on the reservation. Anyway, Tracie White's piece traces back through 150 years, and as for the present:
The Rosebud Hospital is run by the Indian Health Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The IHS is responsible for providing health care to 2 million Native Americans and Alaskan Natives who belong to more than 557 federally recognized tribes in 35 states. It was set up by the federal government to honor a long history of treaties in which Indian tribes exchanged land with the United States in return for food, education and health care. [...Currently,] the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights reports the federal government spends about $5,000 per capita each year on health care for the general U.S. population, $3,803 on federal prisoners and $1,914 on Indian health care.
One of the most pressing inequities of the federal government’s attempts to meet these obligations, according to advocates such as the National Indian Health Board, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., is that while the biggest federal health and safety-net programs such as Medicare, Social Security and veterans’ health are protected from sequestration cuts, the IHS is not. It stands to lose 5 percent of its $4 billion budget this year, a percentage that is expected to increase next year if sequestration continues, IHS administration officials say. These cuts will be devastating for many tribes.