The Indian Memorial at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Photo: Jasperdo
Health | National

Ben Nighthorse Campbell links racism to suicide among youth

Native youth suffer from high rates of suicide and Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a former U.S. Senator, believes racism is one of the causes.

Campbell, a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, has experienced discrimination first-hand. He told Voice of America about an incident last summer during a commemoration of the Battle of the Little Big Horn in Montana.

“A pick-up truck came in with a bunch of white fellows in back, and they started waving scalps ... they were really just wigs. What kind of message are they trying to tell the Indians?” Campbell told VOA.

“Indian kids feel the impact," Campbell added. "They grow up feeling they have no self-worth.”

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, suicide rates in Indian Country have gone up in the last 15 years. The agency's 2016 report didn't identify any causes, though.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Native Americans experience the second-highest rate of race-based hate crimes in the United States.

Read More on the Story:
Rise in Hate Crimes Alarms Native American Communities (Voice of America 6/5)

National Center for Health Statistics Documents:
Suicide Rates for Females and Males by Race and Ethnicity: United States, 1999 and 2014 | Data Brief: Increase in Suicide in the United States, 1999–2014