Bill Clinton photo

Exchange With Reporters at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

July 07, 1999

Q. Mr. President, what did you learn from the Igloo neighborhood this morning?

The President. Well, the woman who was speaking with me, Geraldine—some of you had to leave before she talked—there are 11 people living in her house and 17 members of her family living in the trailer next door connected to her house; 28 people there with five bedrooms between them.

And she talked about how hard it was with no jobs to make ends meet and how she had to buy all the children's school clothes on installment, on layaway. And what she did was she had to find money for the children who were on the cross-country team—just to be able to do the most basic things in life.

And she said, yes, they did need new housing, but the most important thing they needed was a way to make a living. Keep in mind—this is unbelievable—this country has had an unemployment rate of under 5 percent for 2 years; the unemployment rate here is almost 75 percent. We have to find a way not only to fix this, the very difficult housing circumstances, but to get them jobs.

We'll talk more about it.

NOTE: The exchange began at approximately 10:30 a.m. at a new housing complex on the reservation. In his remarks, the President referred to Geraldine Blue Bird, resident, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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