“America’s Underdogs”—Mini documentary exposes the crisis faced by Native American kids who are the lowest achieving students in the nation

WASHINGTON D.C. (AUGUST 1, 2016) — America’s Underdogs: Students in Crisis, released today by the American Federation for Children, takes a hard look at why Native American students are failing across the U.S.. The 10-minute documentary spotlights children living on tribal lands who as a whole, are the last in the nation in reading and math proficiency and have some of the worst graduation rates in the country. America’s Underdogs takes you onto reservation lands in Arizona to dissect the issues that affect most tribal communities when it comes to educating their children.

There are more than 640,000 Native American students in the United States. A lack of quality educational options, feelings of hopelessness and diminishing culture have contributed to Indian young adults having one of the highest rates of suicide in the country.

“This was one of the most shocking pieces I’ve ever worked on because we are dealing with almost an entire population of America’s children living in despair with no goals or dreams to look forward to,” said Kim Martinez, producer of America’s Underdogs. “This documentary is meant to jar our consciousness. We have an obligation as a nation to no longer sweep this issue under the rug, children’s lives are literally at stake.”

From dilapidated BIE schools to a lack of appropriate education options for Native children, these students have been described as “invisible”.

America’s Underdogs sheds light on the dire situation of the most critically under-educated kids in the nation,” said Arizona State Sen. Carlyle Begay, a member of the Navajo Tribe who participated in the documentary. “It’s one of the most important conversations we need to have and it is woefully overdue. How do we educate these students and stop the hopelessness?”

Click here to watch America’s Underdogs: Students in Crisis. For more information on ways you can get involved, visit nativekids.org.