Native Village  Youth and Education news
February 2010 Volume

Debunking some of the modern myths about American Indians
Condensed by Native Village

Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, is a journalist, publisher and the founder and first president of the Native American Journalists Association. Every new year Tim tries to expose some of the myths and misconceptions about American Indians

MYTH:  Indians live on reservations with gaming casinos spouting an endless stream of money.
FACT: Many reservations in the west are isolated from the mainstream. Their casinos are barely surviving, and tribes struggle to keep their doors open. Closing them down would mean the loss of jobs, which are rare on Indian reservations.

MYTH: Indians get monthly checks from the government.
FACT: Indians only receive the same government checks as non Indians:  social security, retirement. or welfare.


MYTH: Indians don't pay taxes.
FACT:  Every paycheck issued to an American Indian has all of the usual taxes taken from it. If items are purchased off the reservation, not one penny comes back to the rez.


MYTH: Indians' get a free ride when seeking higher education.
Like all Americans, Indians struggle for the few scholarships available to them. It is the 30 Indian colleges scattered throughout the reservations which provide the opportunity for a higher education.


MYTH:  The government provides charitable funds to Indian nations for education, hospitals, homes, law enforcement, court houses, and government.
FACT: This is not charity, but an obligation. It is payment for the millions of acres of land written into treaties between sovereign nations.


[Editor's Note: The graphics, like the myths, incorrectly portray Native peoples]

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