Suicide State Of Emergency On Pine Ridge Reservation

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Tribal president declares state of emergency over increase in youth suicide attempts Posted: Wednesday, December 9, 2009

PINE RIDGE — Oglala Sioux Tribe President Theresa Two Bulls will declare a suicide state of emergency for Pine Ridge Indian Reservation during a news conference at 1 p.m. today.

Crossposted at Native American Netroots

I want to share a personal story, because I hope people contacting the White House will save lives by giving hope. How many, I don’t know. I wouldn’t share it unless I thought it would be helpful to others. Suffice it to say, hope through someone to talk to would’ve been the difference between a 20 gauge shotgun to my head or not at 17.

I was 17 years old and my codependence combined with normal adolescent neurosis and feelings of abandonment left me feeling absolutely hopeless. I was raised in a good family and we had a good house, but New Years Eve of ’87 found me calling suicide hotlines – but nobody answered.

I further spiraled into hopelessness thinking, “New Years Eve, they know it’s a night of higher suicide rates, that’s it.” I made the decision to end my life.

It was really a strange feeling going into my parent’s room, putting a shell in a 20 gauge shotgun with tears streaming down my face, and pointing it to my head. I had taken the safety off. I just wanted someone to help me and talk to me. Nonetheless, I put enough pressure on the trigger for it to go off, but I saw something out of the right corner of my right eye. The gun didn’t fire and I was amazed that it didn’t. I put it to my head again and these thoughts seemed to be streamed into my mind, “If you do this, you’re one selfish bastard.”

I put the gun up.

I sponsored someone 13 years later, and when he committed suicide via an overdose I understood why. However, many were at his funeral and I still remember thinking, “I wish you could have seen then how many people care now.”

From a MySpace bulletin:

Autumn TwoBulls: Take a Stand Against Poverty & Suicide in Lakota Country join us in Calling The White House ~202 456 1111Share

Today at 3:13pm

Autumn TwoBulls: Take a Stand Against Poverty & Suicide in Lakota Country join us in Calling The White House ~202 456 1111 This is the time when my people should be treated fair and with justice.

Support the Sweet Grass Suicide Provention Program here in Pine Ridge Reservation

This is an epmidemic among Lakota Country please give our Lakota Youth a Voice for Hope!

Follow -Up Call In to White House Tuesday March 2, 2010

Help bring a voice to the Lakota Nation in the matters Poverty and Suicide on the Pine Ridge Reservation/Contact White House

To Friends, Relations and supporters.,

Thank you for the overwhelming response to our White House Call In last Tuesday 2/16 and again on Friday.

Over the last while, you have seen and heard of the terrible situations and conditions on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Again, I am asking you to come make your voice be heard.Last Tuesday all of you overwhelmed the Comment line 202 456 1111.

On Tuesday, March 2, 2010, please take the time to call in again.We need to keep this subject on the President’s “Radar” and this is a way for us to be heard.

Tell President Obama of the awful conditions facing my people here on Pine Ridge. Tell him the Oglala Sioux Tribe Declared a State of Emergency on Suicide in December Remind him of the promises that he has made to the First Nations/Native American people. Promises waiting to be fulfilled.

When you call the comment line tell them about the grinding poverty rates, the 80% unemployment and the desperation that is leading so many of our people and youth to commite suicide. We are asking that Aide is brought to our Lakota Nation in these matters.

1: When you make your call, please be respectful

2: State in your call Why you are calling, i.e., Suicide and povertyon the Pine Ridge Reservation, etc

3: State that you would like to know what the President can do about this.

4: Remind respectfully that the President made promises to the First NationsNative American People during his campaign.

Help us to be heard again, we’ve only just begun use our voice.

Together we can make a difference for the people. One voice together, loud enough for the President to open his mind and his heart to my people, the Lakota Nation of Pine Ridge Reservation.

Please begin calling during buisness hours which are 9am – 4 pm Eastern time. Keep calling and emailing all day.

I am so grateful for the support in this effort to help Our Lakota Nation be heard. Lets work together as one voice

Pila Unyape, Wopila Tanka Echichiyape

Respectfully, Autumn Two Bulls

Oglala Lakota of Pine Ridge South Dakota

http: //www.whitehouse.gov/contact


202 456 1111

Faced with rash of suicides, OST President Two Bulls declares an emergency

www. rapidcityjournal.com

In an emotional appeal to the people of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Oglala Sioux Tribe President Theresa Two Bulls declared a state of emergency Thursday in the face of overwhelming numbers of suicides and suicide attempts on South Dakota’s largest reservation.

Chief Teresa TwoBulls declared a State of Emergency weeks ago, as conditions have become unbearable in a very harsh winter. The White House is silent.

Where is the HOPE that President Obama has promised? Where is HOPE for the Lakota?

Here is the President’s Opening words to the Tribal Nations Conference last November.

Pine Ridge Reservation America’s Own Third World Country

I have never quite understood people who travel oversees and put forth so much effort to help those in Under developed countries, when we have a place right here in the US that has Third World conditions. Technically, this place is not “in the United States.” It is an Indian Reservation, therefore a Sovereign Nation.

– snip –

•  The Average life expectancy

on the Reservation is 46

•  Pine Ridge Teen suicide rate is 150 times higher than the National Average

•  65% of the residents of the Reservation live in sub-standard conditions such as no electricity, running water, and often, without heat


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  1. dkmich

    The grinding and growing poverty in this country is indecent.   There are so many people in despair, and he doesn’t appear to be listening to anyone but Rahm and his keepers.  

    Maybe one day you could write an essay on reservations.  Pros and cons?  Why do they still exist?  Why do some people stay on them?   My guess is the upside is being a sovereign nation, which is probably also the down side.  What does being a sovereign nation actually mean to the people who live in them?  Not to be a smart ass and sorry for my ignorance, but do they even consider you to be a citizen?  I get all the labels, but I have no images or understanding of them.  If you’ve already done this, I’d appreciate a few links.  

    I will make the call. I don’t expect to be heard, but I will try.

  2. mint julep

    There is so much that needs to be done it’s overwhelming.

    I don’t see much good coming from calling. It’s not like the BIA don’t know what is happening they don’t care.

    With the latest heating/housing emergency I think we need to concentrate on housing and job creation first. With the internet it shouldn’t be to difficult to archive.

    Louisiana has a low cost phone service for people on public assistance. Is there such a program in the Dakotas?

    They also have a place where people can donate their used computers.

    There are Gov’t grants available to start a business or even a non profit. I have a disc with lots of info.

    If we could start or get help from Habitat for Humanity to organize and get the housing situation under control.

    I feel helpless, but I think if housing improves people will feel better.

  3. Shaharazade

    right here in this country another example of what our government does to people they consider an obstacle to their visions of manifest destiny past and present. I agree with mint julep, I think it is a waste of time to call or write the people who have no wish or desire to help the plight of a people they destroyed. Their busy working on their present destruction plans. I will call but I will also give what I can to help directly as I did before. Community is all we have to offer each other and at times like this we need to develop more places where we can help each other. I feel for these young people who literally have not only no future but are living like this in a country that prides itself on ‘wealth creation’.        

  4. TMC

    Bless you, WR, your family and your people.  

  5. mint julep

    most stay at the rez because it’s their home and they feel safe. Outside there is a lot of racism and harassment.

    When I came to this country I lived for a time in a small town in MN, near Mille Lacs Lake. The racism towards the Native Americans was disgusting and the reception they got when they came into town… So much hate.

    I wouldn’t leave the rez either.

  6. AmericanRiverCanyon

    …  and language can be protected from assimilation or being blotted out or run over.    They are American citizens but they have their own government as well as having that government having to follow the rules of the Bureau of Indian Affaires, which is run by the Federal US Dept of the Interior and therefore that is under Congressional jurisdiction-  that’s why the head of the BIA is an appointee. History shows the Federal Government leases a lot of reservation land for mining and oil/natural gas drilling, and the tribes are supposed to get paid royalties, but they also end up getting ripped off. (You can google “Cobal Decision” to see that story).

    Downside  is absolutely crushing poverty for many, depending on what part of the country they are in, (Pine Ridge is located in the poorest counties in the nation) because typically reservations are located on land that is isolated, and that poverty results in a lot of chemical/substance addiction/ abuse.   Pine Ridge has a horribly high rate of fetal alcohol syndrome which creates lost generations.  

    I personally suspect part of this problem also has to be nutritional, because  the people a few hundred years ago, were so strong they could survive one of the harshest climates on the planet, on mostly meat, fruits, and vegetables that they foraged, and they had such strong family units,  before they were herded onto reservations and switched over to the typical European diet of white flour and sugar. (see insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome,  see gluten intolerance which leads to thyroid disease which can lead to depression ) The early generations on the reservations were made to depend on the Indian agents distributing government rations….  you know how that goes.  Bad food and never enough.    And there was horrible racism,  to blot out not only diet but language and their religious beliefs and convert them, they would take the children away and send them to boarding schools.

    Pine Ridge has been so bad for so long, not that the individual people or tribe is bad, the whole system of locking people into a far away place that they can’t succeed in any way, just because they want to keep a sense of belonging to their tribes, is bad.  

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