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Opinion
Tim Giago: Government ignores Indian health problems


"The suicide rate for American Indians and Alaska Natives ages 15 to 24 is three times the nationís average, according to federal health officials.

An Associated Press story quotes 'experts' that see 'poverty, alcohol abuse and domestic violence as factors in the high suicide rate. But the article adds, rather lamely, 'but the problem has not been studied extensively.' Has not been studied extensively? Why not?

A recent action by a Senate committee to increase resources for suicide prevention on Indian reservations is an action that should have happened 20 years ago. Senator Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who authored the bill said, 'Whatís happening out there is devastating.'

The bill would 'encourage the Indian Health Service to do more research on the problem.' Where in the hell has I.H.S. been loí these many years? This is not a new problem that suddenly popped up on their computers. This is a real human problem that has been ongoing and growing for more than 20 years.

Now here is where the bureaucrats really go into their special language only they can understand. The bill would 'authorize grants for telemedicine that could help behavioral health specialists connect with troubled teens, and it would increase the number of federal grants for American Indians to study psychology.' In plain English, what we are talking about here is a nebulous attempt to solve a current problem 20 years down the road. In the interim, how many more Indian teenagers will take their lives?"

Get the Story:
Tim Giago: History ignored is history repeated (The Native American Times 10/31)

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