“I’m all alone nobody cares whether I live or die. All I ever do is cause problems for everyone. I can’t make it through school, I cause my family problems. I’m a failure in everything that is important to me. The only way out of this is to die.”(Suicide letter) This is what it must feel like to be on the verge of suicide, a horrible epidemic which has spread through the nation’s Native American tribe’s wildfire. Subsequently, suicide ranked as the second leading cause of death for those from age ten to thirty-four.(Olson,19) .Yet, although suicide seems to be a very pressing issue, it doesn’t receive the national attention to the degree it should. In particular teen suicide specifically in Native Americans, who commit suicide more than any other racial group in the United States.(Native Americans today) Many factors can contribute to suicide from problems at home and school to family losses, poor health awareness, and addictive behaviors such as alcohol and drugs. Not only do Native American teens have to deal with the all the aforementioned pressures but also face discrimination and indifference from a dominant culture as well as an oppressive government who has for a long time marginalized them. A government which has so long held back a culture in an ever growing society.
Native American teens share much of the issues Americans face that can contribute to thoughts or intentions to commit suicide. One critical issue is alcohol and drug abuse. In Native Americans alcohol and drug addiction run rampant. Alcohol addiction is multigenerational spanning from grandparents to parents to even kids, posing a serious problem for Native American teens. This is a never ending process, cyclical if you will. According to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse data showed that fifty percent of all American adolescents have used alcohol. This is considerably higher in Native American youth which was just a little over
Cited: Branch, Jones. "Obama promises Native Americans place on agenda." USA today 11/5/2009. . 2/05/2011 http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-11-05-obama-indians_N.htm Donovan, Bill. "Candidate forum focuses on youth issues." Navajo Times Online July 29, 2010. . 2/6/2011 . Four Worlds Development Project. (1984c). Understanding and preventing the problem of alcohol and drug abuse (Adult Education Series, Discussion Paper One). Lethbridge, Alberta: Lethbridge University. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 266 893) Gale, Nancy . "Fighting Alcohol and Substance Abuse among American Indian and Alaskan Native Youth. ERIC Digest." 1991-07-00. . 2/5/2011 . Gerard, Susan. "Prevention and treatment of substance abuse in native communities. 2/5/2011 . Olson, L. M., & Wahab, S. (2006). American Indians and suicide: A neglected area of research. Trauma, Violence, and Abuse, 7(1), 19- 21 Pagelow, Angel. "The effects of domestic violence on children." 10/5/2004. . 2/5/2011 .