Poverty can happen to anybody. But in Rapid City, it's a problem that disproportionately affects Native Americans.
"It feels like all the odds are against us because of what we're going through, and I don't think that's fair," Mariah Bissonette of Rapid City said.
A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau put Rapid City at the top of a list of cities with high poverty rates among Native Americans, with 51 percent of its Indian population living in poverty.
"The number is unacceptable, and the response is a two-pronged approach which is an approach that's already underway," Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker said.
Kooiker says the city is working on attracting more and better paying jobs to the Black Hills, and expaning educational opportunities. But solving the problem may not be as easy as bringing more jobs to the area and helping people get a better education. That's because for many Native Americans living in poverty the source of the problem goes back to more than a century of cultural oppression.
"It's hard, it is, but we just need to change ourselves and how to adapt. What happened in the past, leave it there because it's just working against us," Bissonette said.
The 17-year-old grew up in Rapid City and knows poverty first-hand. But she says that there are opportunities out there for everyone, and that the answer to the problem of poverty must come from within the Native American community.
"It doesn't matter who you are and it doesn't matter what color your skin is, you can make it. And there's people out there that are willing to help you but you need to apply yourself," Bissonette said.
South Dakota also ranked at the top of the list for states with the highest number of Native Americans living in poverty at just more than 48-percent. Poverty is defined by the government as a single person living on less than $15,000 per year, or a family of four bringing in less than $23,000.