Ashley Malone
AM IN 210

Witnessing your Father beating your Mother until she is sick, feeling the neglect coming from your own supposed loved ones, and

drinking until you exceed full capacity just to escape the reoccurring issues taking place in the household, for some Native Americans

this is a routine to their everyday lives. Youth Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Native Americans that live on the

reservations today. The Indian Health service reported that among American Indian’s ages 10-24, 33.9 per 100,000 commit suicide

each year, which is 2.5 times higher than the national rate in the United States. The rate of teenage Indians with depression has

skyrocketed within the past twenty five years and many say this is due to the colonization and the broken treaties forced onto their

ancestors. The Indians were accustomed to living in teepee’s, wigwams, or hogans in a village with their entire extended family that

easily passed down culture and traditions for their family to carry on. Due to the Indian’s being demanded to abandon their culture

and attend boarding school, this way of life was soon demolished. Hopelessness, poverty, alcoholism and limited access to the

Indian Health Services are major aspects that play a role with youth suicide.

The Pine Ridge Reservation is the poorest Indian reservation located in the United States with their unemployment rate being an

unbelievable 85% and their high school dropout rate is 70%. Specifically at Pine Ridge, youth suicide is an ongoing debacle that

drowns the community into a deeper desolation due to the loss of their next generation tribal members. Only 32% of children under

fifteen are receiving physical and mental health services distinctly at Pine Ridge, although this rate is similar among all Native

American tribes. The lack of health services from the IHS, which is the federal health care provider, is not distributing proper

recognition to the age group that is part of their second leading cause of death. Children in the elementary schools are starting to

drink large quantities of alcohol by the fifth grade because they feel that is the only thing that allows them to isolate their problems at

home. Teenage pregnancy and STD’s, due to lack of education and protection are also stimulants to suicidal thoughts. These young

children do not receive the appropriate health care for themselves and they do not find taking care of a child to be their calling, so

they decide to take their own life in order to run away from the mess that has been made.

The domino affect plays a huge role on the reservations. A scenario that that is common amongst many Native American tribes is

one like life on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico. A boy named Coloradas Mangas exclaimed that he thought he

had a close group of friends, then one day Mangas’s best friend found his brother in their trailer house hanging from a long-sleeved

shirt connected to a hook. He could not bear the sight of his own blood intentionally dead right before his eyes. A week later

Mangas’s best friend killed himself with a twenty gauge shotgun. Mangas explained that his best friend’s family dealt with violent

domestic abuse, their parents were unemployed, and they lived in a small trailer that was livable for three humans, although their

family consisted of seven members. Mangas stated that this is sadly a common situation for the majority of their tribe; he stated that

if one dies two, three and even four typically follow. Mangas reveals that he is suicidal himself after living the everyday stress of

knowing anyone close to him may die soon, although he yearns to seek reform which lead him to travel to Washington D.C. to

combat youth suicide in all tribal territories.

President Obama recently renewed the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which endorses a comprehensive you suicide

prevention effort. Prevention agencies such as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention have recently held meetings to

address this issue at a larger stance. There are also many therapeutic websites that can aid the Indian’s when feelings of taking their

life begins to overcome them. One of the websites called the “Healing of Nations” offers words of wisdom from their elders, which is

basically a way for the Indians to feel that they want to keep a name for their family because the Indian’s had such a rich and natural

culture. The site also provides helpful information for families or close friends that are dealing with someone who could be suicidal by

listing certain things to not say to the victim such as forcing onto them that they are suicidal. Action is slowly being taken to move this

predicament on a better path with an increasing amount of prevention programs, although the Native American’s are still waiting to

see more money from the government in order to enhance their lifestyle on the reservations.

"Advancing Suicide Prevention." SPRC 1.2 (2011): n. pag. Web. 12 Apr 2011. <>.

This review of a book states that there is a link between suicide and agricultural populations such as Indian reservations. It has become a major focus of federal and state prevention initiatives, I feel that this book could be therapeutic to a Native American suicidal victim because they can witness that outsiders are trying to help with their issue.

"AFSP Participates in Native American Youth Suicide Prevention Summit." American Foundation for Suicice Prevention (2010): n. pag. Web. 14 Apr 2011. <>.

This site is helping to aid the high suicide rate among Native American tribes. This site also tells about the changes that are being made in Washington D.C. in order to better fund the Indians with health care. This site is a good source to see what the government is working on in order to help out the Native Americans.

Alcantara, Carmela, and Joseph Gone. "Reviewing Suicide in Native American Communities." Routledge (2007): n. pag. Web. 14 Apr 2011. <>.

This detailed article tells about the suicidal problems at Standing Rock in North Dakota and how dangerous suicide is to the human society. Also, this article describes the prevention process of transactional-ecological framework. This is where the suicidal patient is being treated without blaming the patient for being suicidal, which could actually make things worse. I think that this article gives a lot of detailed information on how suicide begins in the Native American tribes and what can be done to help them.

"A Tribal Tragedy: High Native American suicide rates persist." (2010): n. pag. Web. 13 Apr 2011. <>.

This site is interesting because it states different examples and stories of Native American children that have taken their innocent lives. I feel that this site makes the situation seem real and it does not just deal with statistics.

Bear, Black. "Suicide Prevention." Healing of Nations (2010): n. pag. Web. 14 Apr 2011. <>.

This site is useful for Indians who feel suicidal, anyone who knows someone who is suicidal, or the family that is coping with the loss of a loved one due to suicide. There is helpful advice that can be used as therapy such as words of advice from elder Native Americans, learning more about the Indian history, crisis intervention, and art and the healing process.

Bender, Eve. "Study Identifies Suicide Risk Factors in Native American Youth." Psychiatric News n. pag. Web. 13 Apr 2011. <>.

This website describes the rate of suicide among Indians that live on the reservations and among those who live in an urban area. This site shows that Americans want to know more about exactly why Native Americans are committing suicide so frequently. I feel that this is a good outlook for the rest of the United States.

Carmona, Richard. "Suicide Prevention Among Native American Youth before The Indian Affairs Committee United States Senate ." United States Department of Health and Human Services (2005): n. pag. Web. 13 Apr 2011. <>.

This testimony is the speech of the United States Surgeon General of U.S. Public Health Service. He is speaking of the current and ongoing issues that the Native Americans are having with youth suicide and what preventions need to be taken.

Cuthand, Doug. "Youth Suicide among Native Americans Linked to Colonialism." Suicide Prevention News and Comment (2009): n. pag. Web. 13 Apr 2011. <>.

This site links youth suicides among Native Americans to colonization. In the olden days Indian families all lived together as an extended family. Traditions and customs were passed down smoothly and the boarding school broke that trend for Native Americans. Now the youth feels lost in this world and they do not know how to pass down their culture without experiencing it first.

Dorgon, Byron. "The Tragedy of Native American Youth Suicide." Public Service Perspectives 7.3 (2010): 1-6. Web. 8 Apr 2011. <>.

This site provides insightful information about the increasing rate of Native American youth suicides. Dorgon implies that the Native Americans that live on the rural reservations have statistically shown higher rates of suicide than those who are closer to urban areas. He states that this is due to the fact that they are hundreds of miles away from health care services and they are not getting the proper services that they should be appointed to. I feel that this site is very professional and resourceful. I think that the author wrote scholarly information and this article underwent a thorough edit review process.

“Homicide and Suicide Among Native Americans, 1979-1992 Violence Surveillance." CDC 2.1 (2006): n. pag. Web. 12 Apr 2011. <>.

This website states statistics of the Native American suicides and compares them to the rest of the United States statistics. The rate of the suicides of Native Americans that live on the reservation is 2 times higher than the rest of the United States population. Firearms were the predominant cause of suicides on the reservation and they are mostly in young teenagers rather than the elder Indians.

Martin, Mark. "Native Americans: A Forgotten People?." CBN (2008): n. pag. Web. 14 Apr 2011. <>.

This is an article about the Crow Creek Sioux Reservation and how they feel that they have been forgotten due to their high poverty rate which has lead to despair among the Indians. These Indians relate their despair back to when they were invaded and then given broke treaties and how they have never been repaid for being taken over.

"National Suicide Prevention." Indian Health Services (2011): n. pag. Web. 13 Apr 2011. <>.

This site is extremely reliable because it is the health service that the Indian do have called the Indian Health Serive (IHS). This site lists many articles dealing with the causes of suicide, preventions and intervention of those who are dealing with suicidal thoughts.

"Native Americans: The Facts." Health Guidance (2011): n. pag. Web. 12 Apr 2011. <>.

This site lists a lot of facts about the health care of Native Americans. It does specify about the youth suicides and it says that the Indian Health Service (IHS) serves 32% of Indians under the age of 15. This site is a good source because it speaks about a prevention program for youth Indian suicides.

"Preventing Native American Suicides." Schargel Consulting Group (2011): n. pag. Web. 12 Apr 2011. <>.

According to this website suicide is the second leading cause of death among Native Americans. Some of the problems that the Indians are facing are high unemployment, high poverty, sexually transmitted diseases, high teen pregnancy rate and elementary school students are starting to drink alcohol. This website is beneficial to find the causes of suicides among Native Americans.

Sciammacco, Sara. "Native Americans Face Challenges With Suicide." Capitol News Connection (2010): n. pag. Web. 14 Apr 2011. <>.

This recent news article was written from a reporter after interviewing a teenage Native American that lives in New Mexico. Many of his friends have recently committed suicide and he traveled to Washington D.C. to get recognition from the government. Their Indian Health Service is very limited when it comes to basic and mental health care. Obama recently acted on this case. I think that this gives a recent real life experience and shows how awful the health care services are on the reservations.
"Suicide Among Native Americans/Alaska Natives." SPRC (2011): n. pag. Web. 12 Apr 2011. <>.

This suicide prevention agency called the, “Suicide Prevention Resource Center”, tells that Native Americans are suicidal because they have poor access to healthcare. They also do not tend to follow through with therapy and their programs have a lack of funding. This website states that some of the most beneficial therapy is getting connected to family and discussing the problem. This website provides good information on the lack of healthcare that Indians have on the reservations.

"Suicide Prevention Among Native Americans." SAMHSA (2010): n. pag. Web. 14 Apr 2011. <>.

This site is to influence Native Americans that their life has a purpose on this Earth and that ending their life is also hurting many people when they leave this Earth. Many youth suicides happen because of experiencing their friend’s death from suicide. SAMSHA is a program for Native American suicide and substance abuse.

"Suicide State Emergency on Pine Ridge Reservation." Native American Netroots (2010): n. pag. Web. 14 Apr 2011. <>.

This site speaks of the problems on the Pine Ridge Reservation and how poorly their living conditions are. Also, President Obama speaks on how he plans to help out the Indians at Pine Ridge and how they are going to get more money.

"Teen Suicide a Fact of Life on Native American Reservations." RT (2010): n. pag. Web. 14 Apr 2011. <>.

This news report tells about the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota and how it is the poorest reservation in North America. They have an extremely high suicidal rate in due to hopelessness on the reservation, poverty and 85% of the people are unemployed. This is a sad example of the real life events that take place on the reservation.

Thackarey, Lorna. "Resons for Suicide Amplified for Native Americans." Billings Gazzette (2011): n. pag. Web. 12 Apr 2011. <>.

This newspaper article talks about the causes of suicides among Native Americans. Some of the reasons include child abuse, children watching their mothers being abused by their fathers, children being neglected by their parents, and living in a household where someone is controlled by drugs and alcohol. A problem that the young Indian children have to deal with is they do not have enough time to regroup from the last time that they were physically or emotionally abused to the next time that they are being abused. This site is a great source to find the causes of suicides among Native Americans.