We have so much more than poverty: Native youth demanding respect

Even though injustice is rampant and life is very hard in America’s poorest communities, a wise response always requires first appreciating the special assets of every community or group of people (especially kids) as they understand those assets. Otherwise, you will overlook their capacity to shape their own futures, neglect the value of their resources and traditions, and propose solutions inappropriate to their circumstances.

Although I have not watched it, I gather that a recent ABC documentary called “Children of the Plains” depicted a Lakota Indian reservation as a place simply defined by suffering, deprivation, and pathology. The ABC special moved students from Rosebud South Dakota to respond with their own skillful video. “I know what you probably think of us…we saw the special too. Maybe you saw a picture, or read an article. But we want you to know, we’re more than that…We have so much more than poverty.”

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.