Aaron Huey: America’s Native Prisoners of War - TEDtalks
Aaron Huey’s effort to photograph poverty in America led him to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where the struggle of the native Lakota people — appalling, and largely ignored — compelled him to refocus. Five years of work later, his haunting photos intertwine with a shocking history lesson in this bold, courageous talk from TEDxDU.
Burial of dead at site of Wounded Knee massacre.
• Some figures state that the life expectancy on the Reservation is 48 years old for men and 52 for women. Other reports state that the average life expectancy on the Reservation is 45 years old. These statistics are far from the 77.5 years of age life expectancy average found in the United States as a whole. According to current USDA Rural Development documents, the Lakota have the lowest life expectancy of any group in America.
• Teenage suicide rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation is 150% higher than the U.S. national average for this age group.
• The infant mortality rate is the highest on this continent and is about 300% higher than the U.S. national average.
• More than half the Reservation’s adults battle addiction and disease. Alcoholism, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and malnutrition are pervasive.
• The rate of diabetes on the Reservation is reported to be 800% higher than the U.S. national average.
• Recent reports indicate that almost 50% of the adults on the Reservation over the age of 40 have diabetes.
• As a result of the high rate of diabetes on the Reservation, diabetic-related blindness, amputations, and kidney failure are common.
• The tuberculosis rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation is approximately 800% higher than the U.S. national average.
• Cervical cancer is 500% higher than the U.S. national average.
• It is reported that at least 60% of the homes on the Pine Ridge Reservation are infested with Black Mold, Stachybotrys. This infestation causes an often-fatal condition with infants, children, elderly, those with damaged immune systems, and those with lung and pulmonary conditions at the highest risk. Exposure to this mold can cause hemorrhaging of the lungs and brain as well as cancer.
• A Federal Commodity Food Program is active but supplies mostly inappropriate foods (high in carbohydrate and/or sugar) for the largely diabetic population of the Reservation.
• A small non-profit Food Co-op is in operation on the Reservation but is available only for those with funds to participate.