Teen Suicide in Indian Country
Allow this article to serve as a catalyst for collaboration. Even if all we do is think about this topic, feel sad about it, and then say a prayer, we have done wonders. Our thoughts and prayers have energy and power. We could continue to look up teen suicide statistics from the Centers for Disease Control but we already know what we would find. Native populations in North America have among the highest rates of all the horrible plagues of humanity, just above many third world countries. With issues related to extreme poverty, fatal diseases, inadequate housing and unclean water, and every type of abuse in the social realm, it is almost easy to see how suicide could become the answer to an immature mind.
What was life like for our young people pre-reservation days? What values and training did they receive? What were they taught about life and death? We do know that Native Traditions view the spiritual realm as part of everyday reality. Interactions between the unseen world and our physical reality are seen as natural. We acknowledged the Creator with praise and gratitude for all created life, including our own. Life was seen as a sacred gift. This leads us to ponder many more questions. Funding for Indian Health Services barely covers urgent and acute care and it seems likely that this system will only get worse. Therefore, we must act from within ourselves and from within our clans in order to save and protect our children.
Whether it is a dark energy that roams our lands in search of young souls to destroy or centuries of historical trauma passed down from soul to soul, the epidemic of teen suicide in Indian Country is out of control. The destruction of self may come from a perspective that there is no way out, but all roads followed in darkness lead to death. The energy of hopelessness prevents one from seeing a way out. Let’s come together in the Native American site forum to collaborate on ideas, brainstorm solutions, or share stories. We can learn so much from one another.
Let us begin this journey by reciting a great Pueblo Indian Prayer which lends us support and guidance from beyond.
Hold on to what is good,
Even if it’s a handful of dirt.
Hold on to what you believe,
Even if it’s a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do,
Even if it’s a long way from here.
Hold on to your Life,
Even if it is easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand,
Even if someday I’ll be gone away from you.
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