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Feds struggle with problem of Indian suicides
"The statistics are grim: The suicide rate for American Indians and
Alaskan Natives ages 15 to 24 is three times the nation's average,
Carmona says. And it is estimated that there are 13 nonfatal attempts
for every fatality.
The High Plains has seen its share of incidents. The Cheyenne River
Indian Reservation in South Dakota has lost 17 teenagers to suicide in
recent years. On the Standing Rock reservation, which straddles the
border between North Dakota and South Dakota, at least 10 teenagers
have taken their own lives since early 2004.
Perhaps the most highly publicized suicide was in Minnesota in March,
when 16-year-old Jeff Weise killed nine people -- including several
students at Red Lake High School -- before turning a gun on himself.
The shootings brought a mountain of attention to the Red Lake Indian
Reservation and depression among teens there."
"Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young American
Indians aged 15 - 34 and is the eighth leading cause of death among
all age groups in Indian country, according to data from the Centers
for Disease Control.
In 2004, 10 young adults and youth succeeded with their suicide
attempts on the Standing Rock Reservation, which is located in both
North and South Dakota. The suicide rate across the nation in Indian
country is said to be, by some estimates, more than 250 percent higher
than that of all ethnic groups across the country combined."
"Two communities that have experienced a significantly high rate of
suicide are the Zuni Pueblo reservation in Arizona and the Standing
Rock Indian reservation in the Dakotas."
"In 1990, the citizens of the White Earth Reservation faced a severe
mental health crisis. Four tribal members had committed suicide within
a several week period and the community feared that a cluster of
copycat suicide attempts (and completions) might follow. To put the
problem in perspective, White Earth had suffered an average of only
one suicide per year over the previous five years, and although
American Indians experience higher rates of suicide than members of
the U.S. population overall, the 1990 suicide rate at White Earth had
reached a level 8.5 times higher than the American Indian average."
"AI/AN suicide rates were highest in the Tucson, Aberdeen, and Alaska
areas. These areas had rates that were five to seven times higher than
overall U.S. rates. Northern areas such as Aberdeen, Alaska, Bemidji,
and Billings all had suicide rates higher than the 95th percentile of
all state rates. The lowest suicide rates occurred in the California,
Nashville, and Oklahoma areas. Firearms (52%) and hanging (37%) were
the leading methods of suicide for AI/AN youth."
(Scroll to Figure 2 for map)
"Young Native Americans have a very high suicide rate; older Native
Americans commit suicide less often than do Whites of the same age."
I used various combinations of the following words for my research:
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