Why do so many reservation Native Americans have a low income and live in poverty?

The poverty on most reservations is rooted in the past.

In earlier centuries, as land was taken away from Native Americans, so were their traditional ways of feeding their families. Many people had difficulty finding a new way to make a living on a reservation.

Much of the land on reservations was of very poor quality, so occupations such as farming and ranching were often out of reach. Some Native Americans tried working for wages, but white-run businesses often refused to hire Native Americans, and with very little money or education, few Native Americans could start businesses of their own.

During the late twentieth century, many Native Americans have left reservations to find work in cities. But others are so attached to their land and their communities that they would rather live in poverty than leave their homes.