The Oglala Lakota Nation, with a population of over 26,000, is one of the poorest places in the United States and lags far behind other parts of the United States in virtually all standards of human well-being. The historical legacy of forcefully alienating people from their allotted lands has contributed to the unequal land-use patterns on the reservation today, where 20 people control nearly 46% of the land base. It has also had a significant economic impact for tribal members. According to the USDA 2007 Census of Agriculture for American Indian Reservations, the market value of agriculture commodities produced on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 2007 totaled $54,541,000. Yet, less than 1/3 ($17,835,000) of that income went to Native American producers.
Protection and control of land and natural resources is one on the most pressing issues for the Oglala Lakota. Currently, nearly 60% of the Pine Ridge Reservation is being leased out by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), often times to non-tribal members, with the tribal land owners only receiving 50 cents to $3.00 an acre per year. These rents are far below current market values. Sign the petition to demand that the Oglala Nation have control of their own land and resources.