It can be lonely, and worse. And it isn’t getting better. According to information presented in the Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative three-year plan for 2012 to 2014, American Community Surveys over the last 20 years show that the poverty rate for Natives in Seattle has fluctuated, but only slightly. In 1990, 33 percent of Natives lived in poverty; in 2000, it was 29 percent; by 2009, it was back up to 30 percent. That’s higher than the poverty rate for any other ethnic group. Meanwhile, the poverty rate for white Seattleites has stayed steady at just 9 percent.
For urban Native kids, the stats can look even worse. According to the “Community Health Profile” for the Seattle Indian Health Board released in December 2011, in King County 46.6 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native children under age 6 lived below the poverty line between 2005 and 2009, compared to 13.2 percent of children in the general population.
Tonya L. Brito, Raymond Kirk Anderson, and Monica Ashley Wedgewood have posted “Chronicle of a Debt Foretold: Zablocki v. Red Hail, 434 U.S. 374 (1978),” on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Zablocki v. Red Hail is a canonical case in family law jurisprudence. One of the few Supreme Court decisions addressing the fundamental right to marry, the case involves a successful challenge to Wisconsin’s “permission to marry” statute. However, the conventional understanding of the case addresses only part of the story. The narrative threads uncovered as part of this oral history research study reveal a more multifaceted and complicated story than has been previously appreciated. The story behind Zablocki v. Red Hail spans the 1970s in Milwaukee, a period of great inequality and dynamic social change. It also engages the American Indian experience in the United States, particularly the experience of urban Indians who have been uprooted from their native lands and disconnected from their heritage and history. Finally, although Zablocki v. Red Hail was a significant constitutional victory, the ruling did not secure justice for Roger Red Hail because the pursuit of a rights-based claim left standing an economically unjust (and apparently unending) child support order.
This report by the National Urban Indian Family Coalition discusses the status of American Indian and Alaskan Native families today.
You can download here.