Suicide Among Native Americans: A Growing Epidemic
"Suicide is the third leading cause of death... in the United States." [Borowsky et al., 574] However, "[s]uicide rates for American Indians and Alaska Natives...are two to three times higher than the national average." [Keane et al., 735] The problem is one of great magnitude. The United States has a responsibility to a population in trouble. It ought to concern each member of the population, not just those immediately affected. The root of the problem is in early colonial America when the settlers entered the country and began stealing the land from the Native Americans. This also resulted in a chain of negative events that would influence Native Americans in a negative way ever since.
The exploitation of their land, their work and their differences from the Anglo-Saxon settlers was only the beginning. The hardships that followed as a result of this history of oppression are innumerable.
One of these devastating effects is the suicide rate among this minority population. Nearly two times as high as for the rest of the population of the United States, the suicide statistics on Native Americans are something we should not, and cannot, ignore. [Novins, et al., 332] What does this indicate? The rates of depression and suicidal tendencies are so high that they indicate something about the quality of life of these people- and the injustices that they suffer. In this paper, I will first look at and identify the problem of suicide, and its horrible effects on the Native American population in the United States. I will then cite possible reasons why this is such a problem for the Native Americans. The crisis that these people are going through is based on certain structural factors that have perpetuated it. Finally, I will discuss the ways...