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Lawmakers Address Poverty On South Dakota Reservations

Lawmakers are voicing their concerns in Pierre on Friday that South Dakota reservations top the list of some of the poorest regions in the Nation. Republican legislators are addressing some of the obstacles that Native Americans face in overcoming poverty on South Dakota reservations. They say keeping tribal businesses up and running plays a big role in helping to break the cycle of poverty.

State Senator Ryan Maher says there are ways for Native Americans on tribal lands to deal with some of the financial constraints that they face. He says programs like Four Bands Tribal are helping. Four Bands is a lending tool for business owners on reservations. If businesses can show a sustainable business plan and can show repayment on loans Four Bands can help keep the doors open for business by undertaking financial risks.

“And so you can get a business up and running as a local entrepreneur, and that’s how these reservations are going to grow from within because you can’t expect a major corporation to move in to the reservation and set up shop when there’s so many uncertainties out there,” says Maher.

Maher says that Four Bands acts as a funding mechanism and serves as an economic development measure. He adds that although there are many obstacles that folks on reservations face, there continues to be bright spots.