Christina Castro: Teen pregnancy not unusual in Indian Country

"Along with many youth across this great nation, my beautiful young cousin just graduated from high school. She celebrates a great accomplishment that only a little over half of Native Americans achieve. Definitely cause for celebration. She is also several months pregnant.

My initial reaction upon finding out was shock, followed by a deep, dark sadness. I grieved for the stolen youth and opportunities. I grieved for the loss of spark in her eyes when I saw her at her reception, which the family went about having with no “daddy” in sight. Only the very discerning eye would have noticed her slightly bulging belly.

I’m not sure if anyone in our health services department keeps tabs on how many teen pregnancies we have on my pueblo annually, all I know is that out of last year’s graduating class at her small, tribal charter school, 6 of the 7 girls have children now. She is, quite simply, the next in the succession of breeders building the bricks of the adobe wall that is our community; a community that reveres Indian babies seemingly more than anything in the world."

Get the Story:
Christina M. Castro: Baby Blues (Indian Country Today 6/19)

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