Thou Winter Wind: Poverty, Climate Change and Indigenous Women Elders

From the Women News Network and author Lys Anzia comes an important article addressing the global invisibility of indigenous peoples through the circumstances of the Lakota Oglala Sioux women Elders of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. With extreme poverty and severe winters, members of Pine Ridge -- in particular women, argues Anzia -- face mounting fears of how global warming will affect their already precarious living situation. Some sources count this Reservation as having the worst living conditions in the entire United States, including substandard housing, toxic Black Mold, little to no plumbing or electric, as well as extreme weather conditions that bring 100 degree heat in the summer and below freezing temperatures in the winter.

Using as a springboard the 2010 Oxfam statistic that more women than men die during disasters, Anzia asserts that women and children on the reservation are more likely to suffer from the collision of these environmental and economic factors. Anzia also suggests that gender roles play a part: "Learning from their own mothers and grandmothers that they must accept life 'as it is,' without complaining, Elder women often risk their lives by staying 'too quiet' in the fact of many needs." Further information about the particulars of women's and women elder's lives on the reservation would be helpful in understanding their experience. As Oglala Sioux Tribe President Theresa Two Bulls states in the article, "We're the foreign country suffering under (extreme) poverty in your (U.S.) backyard."

Following is a glimpse of life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation from USA Today:

Read the full article here.
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