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Can We Honor Native American Day By Doing Something About the Suicide Crisis?

Society & Culture  (tags: society, culture, Native Americans, health, suicide rate, politics )

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Native Americans have the highest suicide rate of any ethnic group in the country, and suffer particularly among youth suicide deaths.

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John Doe (22)
Friday September 28, 2012, 7:24 pm
As sad as it may be, If someone wishes to commit suicide it is their choice and their choice alone, To legislate against it is a crime.

Past Member (0)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 12:03 am
How tragic it is, especially now in our age of self-inflicted environmental disasters, to lose people who have such a rich and wonderful knowledge of our world as a it should be respected. I hope the government now offers these wonderful people the help they deserve for the benefit of us all.

Rose Becke (141)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 4:14 am
Very SAD

. (0)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 3:55 pm
I find it very strange that they are still isolated. I made one attempt to reach out for an online exchange of dance information through Catholic orphanage. It did not result in mentoring a little girl, but in complete rejection. I would love to volunteer to help cross the cultural borders and help with assimilation. No one should feel isolated culturally in this huge country.

Michael M (60)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 4:46 pm
Tessa Baldwin's point in her quote is worth emphasizing:
There is more to life than many of the major culture knows, and the native people of these continents of North and South America have some important traditions and beliefs, which can heal and return hope and energy to everyone, including the youth of the tribes who have so long been under the false impression that the introduced culture is superior in any way, when in fact is exists without recognition of the necessary respectful and sacred relationship of all that live.

Such a solipsistic and false elevation of the human to the only being worthy of consideration makes it impossible for that isolated pretension to be able to assimilate the sacred.

Those who have abandoned the important tribal ideas and ideals for this larger society' false glamour, are the ones so lost through alcohol and other drugs, adrift, and often victims of evilly racist attitudes.

The idea of honoring the cultures and values of the tribes runs counter to "assimilation" by the larger culture which abandons the spirit of being. This monstrous and soulless culture must be the one abandoned, and nevermore attempt to assimilate those traditions or people who long learned to live in a deep relationship with all they experienced.

Catholic and other miscegenated religions and their messianically insane promoters for centuries now have been a malefactor in the physical, mental, psychological, and spiritual health of native traditional peoples everywhere, especially in the states mentioned, California, Dakotas. I had to break with my family over their promotion of this evil among two tribes with whom I had relatives and friends. They attempted to eradicate the language, the clear valuable rituals and renewals, and broke up families.

Tamara Hayes (185)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 6:23 pm
Very sadly noted, shared and twittered.

Sheryl G (363)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 6:40 pm
I am a born again primative, as Russell Means has said. We don't want to assimilate. This has been a cultural genocide, and the people want their language and culture back. It is only by regaining the traditions, the spiritual, will the suicides drop. They came with the gun in one hand the bible in the other, if one didn't beat the Indian out of them the other did. The Creator is in all, not some watching being out there someplace, that one gets to say a few Hail Mary's and all is forgiven. One Walked in Beauty all the time and accorded their actions from a place of good heart. The rat race of going after "things" in place of family is not what is wanted to be assimilated into. No more relocations, indoctrination, or assimilation.

Stevie A (10)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 7:00 pm
And the GENOCIDE continues. The true story of Pilgrims and NATIVE PEOPLES (this is not India) is CENSORED from textbooks. HITLER got his idea of CONCENTRATION CAMPS from US RESERVATIONS. The CONSTITUTION we cherish was ADOPTED FROM the Native People; in it THEY are referred to as "savages". The people seeking "freedom to worship" as they pleased, STOLE, LIED and MURDERED. TREATIES were "made" to be IGNORED. A lot of California land was not paid for though the treaties still exist. When the tribes asked for what was promised, first was a denial, then a "compromise was offered" - the price of the land at the time the treaty was made, NOT its CURRENT VALUE. If we would honor the treaties made by our ancestors (ILLEGAL ALIENS) the NATIVE PEOPLE would have plenty of resources to aid their communities.

Carol H (229)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 5:47 am
noted and agreed, thanks Cal

Barbara T (431)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 2:31 pm
Pardon me please, for breaking into this thread with an off-topic subject:

"I Got 15 Kids & 3 Babydaddys-SOMEONE'S GOTTA PAY FOR ME & MY KIDS!!"
And then there's the one about President Obama and the Teleprompter.....

Not only do they now invade our threads and discussions -- they NOW HAVE STARTED POSTING THEIR OWN NEWS STORIES. A NEW tactic that fools NOBODY!

These are NON-STORIES; NON-NEWS. The fact that some welfare mother is a horrible person, IS AN EMAIL THE RIGHT WING IS CIRCULATING.
It in NO WAY is "News"; it says NOTHING about the Welfare system, Welfare laws, poverty, hunger, birth control, other single mothers or people on welfare, or ANY OTHER ISSUE WE ARE CONCERNED WITH, here on Care2!
It is SIMPLY DESIGNED TO MAKE PRESIDENT OBAMA "LOOK BAD". Like the Right-wing calling him the "foodstamp president".
IT IS SIMPLY DESIGNED, MADISON-AVENUE AD-MEN STYLE, to ASSOCIATE THE PRESIDENT with something "awful". NO different, from "associating" a "sexy woman", with a car you want people to buy.

This is CLEARLY a LAST-WEEKS-BEFORE-THE-ELECTION effort to DESPERATELY increase Mitt the Twit's vote!!! or decrease President Obama's, thru lack of enthusiasm..... thus relatively increasing Mitt the Twit's....

My advice is: IGNORE AND DO NOT "NOTE" THESE STORIES. I myself would not even "Comment" on them.... not even pay them THAT much attention. Not even to say how STUPID they are.....

Barbara T (431)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 2:50 pm
There, got THAT out of the way. Hope that my breaking in, didn't offend the people here, who I expect will understand the reasons for it...

'During 2005–2009, the highest suicide rates for those ages 10-24 years were among the American Indian/Alaskan Natives,” reads a summary of data from a Centers for Disease Control report detailing trends in American suicide. (2009 is the latest data available from the organization.)

And that rate wasn’t just a little higher than other sectors: The suicide rate for Native American youths was
more than twice as high
as the next-highest ethnicity, non-Hispanic whites, and
more than three times higher than any other minority.

“It is estimated that 14 to 27 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native adolescents have attempted suicide,” reads the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.'
While I would have to agree with John Doe, that an adult person with full reasonable capabilities has the "right" to decide to commit suicide...
I DON'T THINK THAT APPLIES TO A TEN-YEAR-OLD. Or an eleven-year-old, or a twelve-year-old....... or 13, or 14, or 15.....
" the highest suicide rates for those ages 10-24 years were among the American Indian/Alaskan Natives"

I think those statistics should be shocking.....
The thing is, the culture in many cases, is NOT being passed down to the Young People....
and the Majority culture, parts of it anyway, makes clear that it DESPISES their heritage.... and won't let them join it.....
so they are caught in a No-Man's Land.....
Their actual History is falsified, Hollywoodized, Disneyfied....

Those tribes where a Cultural Revival is going on, where Native languages are preserved and actually taught in schools, and where traditions are honored and observed even in new, modern ways....
have the best chance, I think, of avoiding these tragedies....
Each death of an under-24-year-old, amounts to a Tragedy THAT WAS AVOIDABLE.....

[Yeah, at 76, I'd like to have that option, of Suicide if I felt like it.... but that's NOT the same thing!]

Michael M (60)
Monday October 1, 2012, 11:33 am
Dandelion made reference to Russell Means, one of the early members of the American Indian Movement.

Russell has been advocating and acting in good ways back on his native tirbal lands in the area he has called the "Nation of Lakotah" where he invites others who understand to immigrate to support this nation which reached according to US treaty from the Missouri River to I believe the Bighorn Mts.
He recommends that residents also respect US law, under which that nation is responsible. More on Mr. Means: in the last couple years he suffered from cancer and was only given a couple months to live. He went to his own Lakota traditions to effect a cure, and so did, and is continuing to work.

Dennis Banks and Clyde & Vern Bellecourt, Eddie Benton Banai, and others of various tribes (Dennis is an Ojibwa from the Leech Lake area of MN, Clyde at White Earth Ojibwe). They created an American Indian tradition educational group in Stillwater Prison in MN, and from that went to Minneapolis to form the American Indian Movement.
While not every native of this continent agreed with them, they all were very important in educating, advocating (look up the "Trail of Broken Treaties") and helping both urban and traditional Indians to find their way back to a better way of living, and reconnection to traditional ways.

Due to the loss of tradition, and the necessity of strong action toward restoration of respect for Native Americans, tempers can flare, and with the common seduction of alcohol created by organizations like Hudsons Bay Co and other traders, violence was too often resorted to, and as many know, growing up in violence makes one more susceptible to resorting to it in dispute.

Across cultures, strong courtesy and respect is required, as you've all seen from news and events. A very first step toward helping loved ones and others is to respect them as living individuals. This is not common in the major culture, which instead breeds moralistic evaluation. One of the lessons these AIM buys had to live and teach is torespect. This is what they fought for.

Leonard Peltier, Lakota and Chippewa (Ojibwa) was someone you've heard about. The FBI had targeted AIM, and there were numerous cases of FBI falsifying and tampering with evidence. No Indian could remotely trust this bureau at this time, and their aggressive presence at Pine Ridge reservation with the intent of persecuting AIM activists led to more violence. Leonard had come to the rez in order to help reduce the violence among people (AIM is an inclusive movement for justice, tradition, education - criticisms of their members often includes a failure to understand the conditions under which they grew up, and that they knew the continuing US policy of "assimilation" into a culture which is the antithesis of tradition - the very culture that leads to alcohol and other drugs and violence toward one another).
Although Leonard was involved in resistance to such US coercion, his conviction for the gunfight in which he was accused of shooting the Agents was a travesty of law - he may have known who did it, but refusing to tell authorities who defended their place and people against the pursuing FBI is not reason to imprison him.

I mention few individuals here, because US policy toward the peoples who inhabited North America, has been one of consistent falsity and betrayal, including betrayal of trust by people with traditions of truth and trust.
Unless the world looks clearly at well-recorded history, people may not understand the beauty and importance f their way, their vital relationship with that world, and the evil way in which they were treated, then one cannot understand why Indian youth have such difficulty in finding reason to live, to fulfill the beauty, power, magnificence of each life which exists.

The present culture which has taken over the world - utilitarian without respect, pretending that all immorality is ok with an imaginary and separate divinity ok'ing their every greedy impulse, is far off course, and it is necessary to look to another way of relationship with the spirit of life.

I would like to mention a couple of people who are revered in the US who by no means deserve their reputation:
Andrew Jackson on your $20 bills, turned upon and betrayed the Cherokee and other peoples whose alliance assisted him - he could not have won his battles in the 1812 war without them. He was a major instigator of the Trail of Tears, and forced them from their Eastern forest and mt. homes to Oklahoma. His true bio is worse than you imagine.
Teddy Roosevelt, whose giant head infests the Black Hills, was one who said that the only good Indian was a dead one. His "conservation" stance also was all about keeping the land for mining and domestication through farming, ranching, and logging. He was an Indian hater, racist in the most foul way. Mt. Rushmore's sculptures are an ugly evil rarely mentioned by anyone, and to have added his head to them was a most vile thing to do to the beautiful and ancient granite of a sacred land.. I don't wish to stir up anger, but DO wish to help others consider whether this monument should exist. This is personal opinion, and I invite you to consider whether such lack of respect should be engraved in stone.


RosemaryRannes HusbandNeedsPrayers (650)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 11:37 pm
Native Americans and First Nations as well as many indigenous peoples worldwide have seen annihilation of their people, their culture, their lands ... what choices remain(ed)?
Today they are reclaiming their rights - to their own self governing, land claims, language, cultural and religious heritage and rites!
The 'lost ones' I see in the city are those who rely on drugs and alchohol to get by on a daily basis.
This saddens me and it saddens their community much more!
Many who go back to their Traditional Way find their roots are deeper than imagined giving rise to renewed strength in body, mind and spirit. Those long ago strings that were severed find healing in sweat lodge ceremonies and healing circles.
It will take ... who knows how long it will take to give back what was stolen.
The memories carried in the hearts, minds and bodies of those who were taken from their parents and their home as children and thrown into residential schools continue to struggle suffering from the many physical and psychological abuses inflicted upon them.
For the next generations it's not o.k. to say, for example, that a baseball team or a football team take an Indian motife and turn it into something obscene ... you know what i mean ... it's everywhere in our sports 'culture' ... misguided themes that are no longer appropriate and should be changed!
Sacred lands that are still being fought for ... and the list goes on ...
We can honor Native American Day by realizing that as long as we continue to support a lack of respect and recognition of the rich heritage and vital contributions and beyond that, the basic right Native Americans have with the very same equality as white people, then maybe more funding will go into preventative measures, supporting issues to combat suicide and drug additions among young and old in Native American communities.
Poverty is key / critical ! Native Americans need jobs too. Discrimination and racism perpetuates poverty!
Education and training programs .... all so desperately needed for Native American youth with support initiatives.
Well let's face it ... the list goes on!
What can we do ... start by showing respect and offer our support wherever and whenever possible.
Donate whenever we can to help those in need on reservations especially in the winter.
Elders have so much to share and they need our help to ensure medical care and supplies are given.

Many good ideas have been expressed and I know that we all care. We need to continue to stand in solidarity with our Native American and First Nations people and aboriginal peoples.

“ We have to educate our young people. We want them to be proud of their heritage. ”
Principal Chief Leon Jones, Eastern Band of Cherokee

Black Elk, Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux 1863-1950

Over a hundred years ago Black Elk had a vision of the time when Indian people would heal from the devastating effects
of European migration. In his vision the Sacred Hoop which had been broken, would be mended in seven generations.
The children born into this decade will be the seventh generation.


Sandi C (98)
Saturday September 28, 2013, 5:28 am
sadly noted.
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