September 11, 2006

The suicide stereotype

Work just begins to stem Indian suicidesAs I listened to both Dorgan and Eagle Shield, I kept thinking of my yearly stay on the reservation. I keep thinking about the Lakota people who participate in the Sundance ceremony. They are strong, spiritual people who provide guidance to their children and work to help others.

Yet, Standing Rock won't be known for their spiritual leaders and the tenacious people who survived the uprooting and devastation of late 1800s and early 1900s. They risk being stereotyped with terms such as suicide, self-destructive and mentally ill because of the public exposure of the issue.

So, I understand why some of the tribal leaders hesitated to expose the suicides and suicide attempts to the public eye. It is another stereotype that we will have to counter, Eagle Shield said; Indian people have suicide as an option to life, the public will say.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Hmm. I'd say it was semi-racist, or at least stereotypical, of the professor to single out your brother for questioning.