Unemployment Among Native Americans
Lack of employment opportunities is a significant problem across the world as it
creates poverty, suffering, and even fatalities. It may be defined as a lack of capital resources
associated with wealth creation and sustainability of livelihood. Recent employment data by
the Bureau of Labour Statistics indicate significant steps to have reduced unemployment rates
in the country to 3.6 percent from more than 5 percent in the past a few years (Hagan).
However, unemployment among indigenous communities such as Indians Americas has
remained relatively higher than the average rate all through the history of the United States.
In their article “Factors Associated with Unemployment among American Indians in the
Pacific Northwest,” Chadwick and Bahr accounted the number of native American’s in the
labor market in 1970 was at 63 percent even where the national employment stood at 77
percent (Chadwick and Bahr 356). The statistics have not significantly shifted over the years.
A recent comparison of the average unemployment rates between white Americans and
Native Americans provide the later as severely disadvantaged in their effort to make a living
as they are two times likely to live a life without employment than their counterparts from
white communities (Austin). The national economy of the country is structured through a
historical adjustment to favor people other than the indigenous communities. Their social,
political, and economic structures were disrupted and sometimes destroyed and adopted new
ways of living, which could not match their cultural stings and needs. Cases such as removal
from their homelands through force by European settlers and assimilations imposed the
Aboriginals to alien social and economic practices that did not suffice the daily needs.
Contemporary financial problems of the Mescalero Apache of the Apache, particularly
unemployment, is a creation of American colonizers, which may find a solution by
addressing historical injustices.
The history of Native Americans is decorated with tragedy and injustices, most of
which account for the contemporary suffering witnessed today among aboriginals. The
government of the United States, for instance, refused to honor obligation of the treaty with
the Dakota Sioux Indians at a time of desperate widespread hunger in 1862 as the local agent
of the federal government advised the natives that, “If they are hungry, let them eat grass or
their dung.” Besides the sentiments leading to the Dakota War, deaths, suffering, and cease of
properties led to significant disruption of the community’s social and economic welfare. Kelly
Gibson’s article, “Causes of Poverty” among native tribes in America, point out the creation
of reservations over the colonial period to have imposed diseases, separation from economic
resources, food security, and overcrowding. The story is not different for the Mescalero
Apache Tribe, whose history is a narration of social and economic deprivation throughout
and after the colonial period of the United States. Mescalero Apache is some of the oldest
residents of Arizona, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, whose land was allotted severally through
the General Allotment Act of 1887. The Mescalero Apache people survived significant
social, political, and economic disruption in the history of their encounter with white
civilization. After their considerably peaceful contact with Spain in 16 and 17th century, the
nation saw destructive hostility with British Americans in later centuries. American
colonialists interacted through war ad dislocation in their conquests, leading to mass killing,
imprisonment, displacements, and the creation of reserves to control their movements.
Controlled movement of the Mescalero Apache Tribe and their restricted social and
economic activities had a significant impact on their lives today. Apart from traumatic
experience through deaths, imprisonment, and separation of family members, the dislocation
of people to other areas had a significant impact on the inaccessibility of economic resources.
Traditionally, Mescalero Apache Tribe, which predominantly lives in South Central New
Mexico, practiced hunting and gathering before the coming of the European powers in
America. They preserved the forest for food extraction and hunting wild animals. They
related with the Spaniards through trade for a long time before the disruptive era set in with
the coming of French and British who forcefully wanted land for agricultural plantations.
Violent resistance by the native led to their mass killings, dislocations, imprisonment, and
control of their movement through the creation of reserves. Reservation settlement cut the
indigenous population from their natural economic activities to American ways of living.
They could not practice their hunting and gathering as the land was scarce in the
overpopulated settlement and forced to adapt settled economic practices, including farming
and serving the low-pay jobs in white farms. More so, the white settlers forced the indigenous
communities to adopt white men’s culture through forced education. Many of the Mescalero
Apache youths were forced into boarding schools where they could not use their native
names leave alone using their language for communication. This resulted into massive
degradation of their culture and their near extinction in recent times against article eight of
the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP 8).
One of the major problems facing this native population is the inability to secure
employment opportunities locally and across the nation, because they are less exposed to
skills appropriate to their cultural background. Displacement of and restricted movement of
the Mescalero Apache community from their free-range culture of hunting and gathering to
life in reserves denied these aboriginals access to natural resources, thereby subjecting them
to depending on white man’s mercy through employment wages. Prescription of Article 8 of
UNDRIP demands that “Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be
subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.” It further provides prevention
for “Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or
resources;” and, “Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of
violating or undermining any of their rights,” in Article 8, sub-article 2b and 2c respectively.
The realization and promotion of continuities in their cultural performances were violated in
the history of the Mescalero Apache through forced disruption of the natural ways of lives
and erosion of their language, education, and other aspects of socio-economic realities. Lack
of proper education that aligns with the cultural needs of the community caused by
Americanization conducted through assimilation and marginalization through the placement
of communities in reservations present the present-day underemployment and socioeconomic challenges of the Mescalero Apache.
Disparities in the tribe are evident in Rudy Abramson’s article “New Mexico Apaches
Have a Hot Idea: Providing Nuclear Waste Storage: Radioactivity: The Mescaleros’ President
Sees Income for Tribe by Putting Interim Depot for High-Level, Spent Nuclear Fuel On
Reservation.” According to Abramson, the natives who are living in the desperate condition
in their New Mexico reserves would rather accept the disposal of nuclear waste in their land
as a creation of employment. The scarcity of employment opportunities is soaring, and even
the educated youths from the natives cannot find jobs in the industries. There are no resources
for the community to make valuable income, and the situation is dire. Their land has been
converted to landfills, locations to test nuclear weapons and dumpsite for harmful radioactive
elements that threaten the health and general livelihood of the natives. Opening up of the land
for nuclear power and as a disposal ground for radioactive materials is a questionable
arrangement between the federal government, private investors, and the council of Mescalero
Apache council of elders in the reserves of New Mexico. But it accepted by the aboriginals
out of desperation. They would earn employment opportunities to serve the day while
accumulating radioactive elements in the long run, which are responsible for ill health and
deaths (Johnson). Resolution of the historical injustices among the Mescalero Apache may
serve a return of the land and natural resource where they may support their economic well-
being. This is following Article 8 of UNDRIP, which prohibits a forceful taking away
resources owned by indigenous communities.
I can closely relate to the oppressive suffering the Mescalero Apache community
experiences. Living as a minority group in the United States presents a lot of challenges,
particularly in equal access to economic resources. Most employment opportunities are
spared for the whites and the well-connected individuals in society leaving majority nonwhites and impoverished individuals without avenues for economic prosperity through
employment sectors. Both of my parents descended from the African American community
and passed through a lot in the job market. They worked as casual laborers to buy a life for
my siblings and me. Despite a relatively enlightened society today where color is less
regarded as a factor for employment privileges, the number of unemployed white people in
my mixed-racial neighborhoods is less than in Black people. Most people of my skin color
live a life of struggle compared to white counterparts. The overall lower growth among the
people of color compared to African Americas elate to historical injustices such as slavery,
brutality, and segregate treatment of our descendant experience over the years. Shipping
away of people from Africa and subjecting them into servitude across the Atlantic Ocean
colonized their minds. More so, it is their removal from their natural environment to a foreign
land away from their economic capitals, which presented the current challenges the
community is facing today (the United States. Congress). The rate of unemployment is
higher in the African American community because they are less exposed to facilitators of
economic creation. After all, history served them negatively.
Generally, most of the socio-economic difficulties faced by marginalized groups,
particularly the indigenous communities, are historical injustices that alienated economic
definitions of the community. The Mescalero Apache tribe suffers severe unemployment
because they were forcefully evolved from their natural habitat and Americanised through
forced assimilation. The dimension of Article 8 of UNDRIP provides preservations of the
inherent culture of indigenous communities to preserve their quiet lives as the destruction
may cause severe damages to their social, political, and economic powers. Such communities
find it difficult to recover their history of suffering because they are in mixed cultures of
traditional and Americanised civility. Accepting the disposal of radioactive elements in
Mescalero Apache land may serve a solution to their economic welfare but with severe social
and economic. An amicable solution, such as resolving historical injustices such as fixing the
land issue among people, may provide a valuable asset in the sustainable creation of
Austin, Algernon. “High Unemployment Means Native Americans Are Still Waiting for an
Economic Recovery.” Economic Policy Institute, 17 December. 2013,
Birchfield, D. “Apaches – History, Modern Era, The First Apaches in America.” World
Culture Encyclopedia, 2020, www.everyculture.com/multi/A-Br/Apaches.html.
Chadwick, Bruce A., and Howard M. Bahr. “Factors Associated with Unemployment among
American Indians in the Pacific Northwest.” Phylon (1960-), vol. 39, no. 4, 1978,
Hagan, Shelly. “Bloomberg.” Where U.S. Unemployment Is Still Sky-High: Indian
Reservations, 5 April. 2018, www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-05/whereu-s-unemployment-is-still-sky-high-indian-reservations.
Johnson, George. “Apache Tribe Rejects Move to Store Nuclear Waste on Reservation.” The
New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia, 2 February 1995,
United Nation. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Adopted by
the General Assembly on 13 September 2007. 2008. Accessed 4 March. 2020.
The United States. Congress. Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the …
Purchase answer to see full
Why Choose Us
- 100% non-plagiarized Papers
- 24/7 /365 Service Available
- Affordable Prices
- Any Paper, Urgency, and Subject
- Will complete your papers in 6 hours
- On-time Delivery
- Money-back and Privacy guarantees
- Unlimited Amendments upon request
- Satisfaction guarantee
How it Works
- Click on the “Place Order” tab at the top menu or “Order Now” icon at the bottom and a new page will appear with an order form to be filled.
- Fill in your paper’s requirements in the "PAPER DETAILS" section.
- Fill in your paper’s academic level, deadline, and the required number of pages from the drop-down menus.
- Click “CREATE ACCOUNT & SIGN IN” to enter your registration details and get an account with us for record-keeping and then, click on “PROCEED TO CHECKOUT” at the bottom of the page.
- From there, the payment sections will show, follow the guided payment process and your order will be available for our writing team to work on it.