Column: Suicide emergency facing Lakota youth
"The recent spate of "cluster suicide" attempts by Oglala Lakota youth at Pine Ridge - 17 last month, 96 from October, 2008 to August, 2009 - has alarm bells ringing across the Pine Ridge Reservation. Last Thursday, OST President Theresa Two Bulls declared a "state of emergency." In that day's Rapid City Journal, Mary Garrigan quotes Two Bulls as saying, "In our culture, we say children are sacred. Instead of just saying it, we need action now." Well, she's right of course. But what is difficult to apprehend is just what, exactly, tribal government - or any form of government - can do.

What is most needed in the hearts of all Lakota children is the sure knowledge they are loved and protected by their Creator and their families. In this fallen world, how Creator and family get defined often varies; but, in the end, there is no substitute for a loving communion between God, parents, and children. These are the bedrock of any community, state, or nation.

The grief riven chaos of cluster suicide attempts always and only attacks our children. It is the final alarm that we have rossed a diabolical divide: many of our children no longer hope. Where should be love, instead is the dry bed of despair.

Any government policy, whether tribal, state or federal, that does not take this into account is destined to fail, and will just be added to the heaping pile of past good intentions."

Get the Story:
David Rookis :Lakota youth and the modern hail of fire (The Rapid City Journal 12/15)

Also Today:
Faced with rash of suicides, OST President Two Bulls declares an emergency (The Rapid City Journal 12/11)