Welcome to Little Earth
Little Earth is a housing project located in the heart of Minneapolis. It was started in 1973 by members of the American Indian Movement. At that time, they saw American Indians in Minneapolis living in abject poverty with no access to healthcare or job opportunities. They wanted to provide them with a chance to find connections with other Indians in the metro to help make the transition from life on the reservation to life in the city a little easier and also to help them keep their traditions alive.
This becomes a social issue, in my opinion, when things like drug use, gang-related activity, and police brutality, are commonplace today at Little Earth. Some people view this housing project as an inner-city reservation or an Indian ghetto-- these labels are unfair and untrue. It seems that a lot of the trouble at Little Earth is being caused by outsiders, not necessarily the residents themselves. Little Earth has often run into problems with funding, as well. Crime levels tend to follow patterns of poverty within neighborhoods: Little Earth eventually became a Section 8 housing project and the living conditions are sometimes questionable to say the least. There is a lot of gang-related activity within the younger groups of people, residents and visitors alike. This contributes a lot to the increases in crime at Little Earth. There has always been a lot of tension between residents of Little Earth and the Minneapolis Police Department; however, the police are called on for assistance when it is absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, I think it is tough to get out of a living situation such as this. Especially if it is the only thing a person can afford and the fact that they are probably surrounded by family and friends. It is not to say that the situation is hopeless.
There are many programs at Little Earth that have been implemented to curb crime, provide job opportunities and healthcare, and to encourage the youth to become educated. It is my belief that education is important when dealing with issues such as these. It is important for the residents and the public alike. The only thing that stereotyping does, is make it harder for people to get on their feet and initiate change. Often, people ignore areas like Little Earth, and decide that it has nothing to do with them. But shouldn't the safety of the community be everyone's concern? Or can we walk quickly past with our heads down and only know it as "a bad part of town"? We should remember to keep an open mind and to help others when it is in our power to do so.
Tell me and I'll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I'll understand. - Tribe Unknown.
Read: "Little Earth: The Troubles" http://citypages.com/databank/27/1338/article14559.asp