Native Americans today face some extraordinary challenges. By nearly every measure, social, cultural, economical, and physical, Native American communities and Native American families are uniquely and negatively impacted by patterns of struggle. While it is important to be positive and hopeful about the future of life for Native Americans in this country, it is first important to have a genuine understanding of what Indigenous people face, collectively and individually. We have to understand the historical destruction that has occurred and how this destruction feeds the overwhelming hopelessness experienced by many Native Americans in the 21st century.
Understanding the pain and difficulty is the first step to overcoming and finding hope.
Part of the challenge is that Native Americans are a diverse and scattered race of peoples. There are currently 6.7 million Native Americans living in the United States. However, only 22% of Native Americans live on reservations. The rest are scattered across the country. For people of Native American descent who live off reservations, the challenge is to see what their Native American identity and ancestry means for their lives. In many cases, people of Native American descent are full of a longing to know more about their ancestors and to reconnect with a tribe or culture they have lost
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