The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Socioeconomic Disparities & Civic Participation

Native Americans suffer from many of the same social and economic problems as other victims of long-term bias and discrimination, such as disproportionately high rates of poverty, infant mortality, unemployment, and low high school completion rates. The struggle for equal employment and educational opportunity is key to addressing these problems.


As of 2004, the national graduation rate for American Indian high school students was less than 50 percent, and Native people were twice as likely as whites to have less than a 9th grade education. Extreme poverty, limited access to healthcare, and high substance abuse rates impede the cultivation of a safe learning environment for Native American children.


Housing in Native American communities and reservations is often inadequate. Problems include overcrowding, lack of plumbing, and substandard conditions. Homes without insulation, electricity or running water are not uncommon in some areas. These living conditions often lead to increased illness and other disadvantages.

Health & Safety

Native Americans face an enormous disparity in both overall health and access to healthcare facilities. They face exponentially higher rates of diabetes, mental disorders, cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, influenza and injuries, and have a life expectancy 5 years less than the rest of the U.S. population. (credit: NCAI)

Digital Divide

The "Digital Divide" is a major area of concern for Native Americans and other minority groups. Because many American Indians and Alaskan Natives have yet to be connected to basic telephone networks and are thus unable to access the Internet, they are at risk of falling even further behind in their ability to access employment, educational, and other opportunities made available by information technology.

Civic Participation

Other civil rights priorities include ongoing battles for voting rights and increasing the diversity of representations of Native Americans in mainstream media.

Other Issues

State of Indian Nations

Every January, the president of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) delivers a State of Indian Nations address - a response to the president's State of the Union address - outlining the major areas of concern for the nation's tribes during the coming year, as well as discussion the accomplishments and hopes of the American Indian community

Our Members