Indian youth suicide crisis baffles

Mar 21, 2011 By MATT VOLZ , Associated Press
In this Friday, Feb. 11, 2011 picture, Darrell Follette, left, and Ida Follette recount the day of their daughter Chelle Rose Follette's suicide during an interview in their home on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Poplar, Mont. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death behind unintentional injuries among Indian children and young adults, and is on the rise, according to the Indian Health Service. (AP Photo/Michael Albans)

(AP) -- Chelle Rose Follette fashioned a noose with her pajamas, tying one end to a closet rod and the other around her neck. When her mother entered the bedroom to put away laundry, she found the 13-year-old hanging.

Ida Follette screamed for her husband, Darrell.

He lifted his child's body, rushed her to the bed and tried to bring her back.

"She was so light, she was so light. And I put her down. I said, 'No, Chelle!'"

But the time had passed for CPR, he said, his voice fading with still raw grief. His wife sat next to him on the couch, sobbing at the retelling.

Here on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, a spasm of youth suicides had caused alarm and confusion even before Chelle's death.The Follettes had talked with her about other local children who had killed themselves. She had assured her parents that they need not worry about her.

"She always promised that," said Ida as the half-light of the winter afternoon created shadows in the sparsely furnished home. "She said, 'What's going on with these kids, are they stupid or what?'"

Earlier that day last April, Chelle and a friend got drunk after school. Police later told her parents that her blood-alcohol content was .217, nearly three times the legal limit.

Chelle argued with her parents when she came home. They ordered her to lie down, to cool off, to sober up.

The Follettes say Chelle was a happy teen who had been looking forward to her 14th birthday the following week. They believe she was just trying to scare them after their argument, but that in her intoxicated state it became a horrible accident.

"I know in my heart she's in heaven," Ida Follette said, burying her face in her hands. "She didn't mean to do it. I know she didn't kill herself."

But that's how the coroner listed Chelle's death. What he and other authorities examining the outbreak among Native American children cannot easily answer is: Why?

---

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death behind unintentional injuries among Indian children and young adults, and is on the rise, according to the Indian Health Service. Native Americans ages 10 to 24 killed themselves at more than twice the rate of similarly aged whites, according to the most recent data available from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On the Fort Peck reservation, five children killed themselves during the 2009-2010 school year at Poplar Middle School - enrollment about 160 - and 20 more of the 7th and 8th graders tried. In the current school year, two young adults have committed suicide, though none at Poplar Middle School.

Emergency teams from the U.S. Public Health Service descended upon Fort Peck last June after Sioux and Assiniboine leaders declared a crisis. The teams provided counseling and mental health services to assist the overworked counselors and strained resources of the reservation.

No suicides were recorded during the 90-day deployment of the federal health team. When they packed their bags in October and left a detailed report with a dozen recommendations, the Indian Health Service declared the crisis had passed - a view repeated to The Associated Press last month by IHS behavioral health director Dr. Rose Weahkee.

But it proved to be only a lull. Two more teenagers killed themselves since October and dozens of other children across the reservation have tried.

"We're at a loss," said Larry Wetsit, a traditional spiritual leader and former tribal chairman.

---

The Fort Peck reservation sprawls across four counties in northeastern Montana. Poplar, with 880 residents, is the seat of government for the reservation's Sioux and Assiniboine residents. Wolf Point, a community of about 2,500, is some 20 miles west.

Like many reservations, Fort Peck is struggling with high unemployment, estimated to be 28 percent in 2008, and rampant substance abuse. Some 45 percent of the residents live below the poverty level, including half of all children, according to tribal statistics.

The problems of the reservation are already pronounced in the schools. Poplar school officials told the federal health team that more than a third of middle-school students tested positive for sexually transmitted diseases, at least one-fifth of 5th graders drink alcohol weekly and 12 percent of high school girls are pregnant. The dropout rate is 40 percent.

But despite those devastating numbers, there doesn't appear to be a predictable pattern to the suicides. The victims were from broken homes and loving families, they were substance abusers and popular athletes.

Children at Fort Peck Middle School cite bullying and peer pressure as big factors in the deaths of their friends, and they say those issues continue as a daily struggle.

"Let's say that all your emotions are in a glass of water. When somebody bullies you, dump out a little bit. When somebody offers you drugs and you take those drugs, and then somebody tears you down because you used drugs, pour out a little bit. Eventually that glass of water is going to be empty and that's kind of like your self-esteem. You're going to be empty, so you're going to try to commit suicide," said A.J. Hollom, a 14-year-old student.

Officials warned that bullying comes in many forms - in school hallways and online, from other kids and from adults.

"Some of the suicides, they found out after the fact about the bullying. The bullying from other students, the bullying from staff," said Stacie Crawford, the chief tribal prosecutor.

During a school assembly last September, Poplar Middle School principal Patricia Black separated by name dozens of children in grades 5-7 who were failing at least one class from the rest of the students gathered.

Their parents were enraged, criticizing Black for shaming the children.

The federal response team noted in its report that several children expressed hopelessness and thoughts of self-harm afterward.

Black said she only wanted to give the students a private pep talk on how to improve their grades. "I didn't say that these kids have Fs. I did not say that I was ashamed of them of anything like that," Black told The Associated Press.

The school board voted to keep Black as principal after she apologized to the students.

Some teachers, including Erin Solem, are encouraging students to speak out instead of bottling their emotions. Solem has had them write essays on suicide, bullying and substance abuse, some of which have been published in the local newspaper.

Solem said conditions at the school have improved, but little could compare to last year.

"You got to the point where you look at the kids and you'd be like, who's next? Because there's no rhyme or reason."

---

The eagerly anticipated report from the federal intervention team landed as a disappointment, detailing problems at the reservation that most everybody already knew: Mental health services are lacking, violent crime rages, people live in dire economic conditions and in broken homes.

"You know there's not even a personal message to us as parents, or to families about how we raise (our children), but to have the audacity to come in here with this large report and say it's community and parents?" said Roxanne Gourneau, a tribal family court judge whose 17-year-old son Dalton shot himself in November. "They don't know our lifestyle and they don't know who's who and what's what."

The report did include some practical recommendations, such as creating a safe house for suicidal kids instead of locking them up in a jail cell. But those ideas weren't accompanied with funding, giving the impoverished community no way to implement them.

The federal deployment cost $241,000, with an additional $50,000 grant from the Department of Education. There is no additional federal money planned to deal with the crisis.

More is needed, said Patty McGeshick, director of the Family Violence Resource Center in Wolf Point. Counselors are still overwhelmed and unable to properly deal with the crisis, she said.

"It's like trying to put a Band-Aid on an infection through your whole body," McGeshick said.

Some families and community leaders have given up on waiting for outside experts. Some are angry.

"I'm going to tell you something: I'm going to get justice for my son," Gourneau said. "The truth is going to be his justice. We were an ironclad family. We took care of our children and we did everything right. And something really bad happened. Yes, he did pull the trigger. But who created the situation where he lost all hope and despaired? Because his family didn't."

----

The resurgence in suicides and attempts on the reservation led the tribe to create a new criminal charge in December called aggravated disorderly conduct. The charge allows prosecutors to detain someone threatening suicide until a mental health specialist can see that person.

The charge has been enforced eight times since Dec. 23, and six of those detained have been teenagers, said tribal prosecutor Crawford.

That's in addition to a monthly average of a dozen suicidal people who are given emergency commitment papers for hospitals in Billings or Minot, N.D., Crawford said. Out of those commitments, she estimated that 40 percent are juveniles.

The children who get charged with aggravated disorderly conduct are those who don't qualify for emergency commitment for whatever reason. Jailing people with suicidal thoughts is obviously not a long-term solution, but it's the best the tribe can do without better services or facilities, Crawford said.

"We're not trying to criminalize them. But nobody else is offering any other alternative," she said, while calling for help in building a mental health facility on the reservation.

On the positive side, a new suicide prevention specialist has been hired, there's a weekly interagency suicide prevention coordination meeting and better services are available for walk-in patients at the tribal clinic, Indian Health Service officials said.

James Melbourne, the Fort Peck tribal health director, declined numerous interview requests from the AP to answer community criticism about his agency's response to the suicides.

"We have chosen not to respond in detail with the media to respect our families and community who are continuing to mourn and grieve," Melbourne wrote in an e-mail.

----

Spiritual leaders say the suicides are rooted in an identity crisis that goes to a cultural and spiritual bankruptcy among Indian youth.

Young people have lost touch with tradition, they say. It's a problem that's grown worse with each generation and is a result of the marginalization of Indian people through the reservation system forced upon them by the federal government many decades ago, said Raymond White Tail Feather, a Baptist minister and former tribal chairman.

"The tribes were contained on reservations, and systematically their culture, the way of life, the federal government attempted to destroy this," said White Tail Feather. "When you do that to a people, what comes about is hopelessness."

Spiritual leader Wetsit presides over the Assiniboine Medicine Lodge, where young men and women participate in a right-of-passage ceremony based on prayer, sacrifice and reflection. He said a strong sense of identity, coupled with good morals and an understanding of one's own culture gives strength of character.

But many Indian children are disconnected from that culture and spirituality, compromising that strength of character, he said. He said there is no simple answer.

"It's going to take us a couple of generations to work through all of that because we've got a whole bunch of families that are stuck, and they're not going to just come out of it overnight. There's a lot of healing, there are a lot of issues we've got to take care of," Wetsit said.

His message has reached some young tribal members. Josh Failing, a 14-year-old middle school student who attempted to commit suicide last year, said he has taken under his wing a younger cousin who was being bullied and was contemplating suicide.

Failing started spending more time with his cousin and taking him to traditional ceremonies, including sweat lodge. His cousin is still angry all the time, he said, but he's still here.

"We need positive role models for the kids - leaders - and we don't get much of that," Failing said. "Give those kids examples, and they can give other people examples, and maybe someday this will all stop and we can all be good people once again."

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JRDarby
3.9 / 5 (7) Mar 21, 2011
Anyone who calls the suicide crisis "baffling" is no student of Native American history. Every cultural revival attempted by the various peoples and nations has been stamped out by the American government: from the Ghost Dance to the Peyote revival, the US government has crushed their various cultures (because Native American culture is not one but many diverse cultures), given them something completely different and Western as a substitute, and told them to deal with it.

Do not misunderstand me. I don't have an "anti-Western agenda" or anything like that. I just think that it's extremely disingenuous to call this baffling without taking into account the historical (and anthropological, and sociological, and so on) context of these peoples' situation.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (13) Mar 21, 2011
'"We need positive role models for the kids - leaders - and we don't get much of that,"

And you won't get that with more govt coddling, more govt welfare.

Sounds like a great place to start a non-govt school that provides discipline.
JRDarby
3.6 / 5 (5) Mar 21, 2011
I must stress once again that the various nations (or peoples) we call Native Americans are a collection of very different peoples with very different cultures who live in very different environments and I don't want you to think I'm overgeneralizing when I address all the peoples as one group (e.g. Native Americans). That said...

You have to realize that these people and their cultures are VERY, VERY different than you and yours. You can't take your preconceived Western/Christian/Suburban/American ideas, ideals, and beliefs and apply them in the same way to these people with the same effect. If we did, we'd find that many of them fit DSM criteria for psychotic and other disorders while they are yet functional, normal, and healthy within their own society. You simply cannot compare apples to skyscrapers in this case.
JRDarby
3.9 / 5 (8) Mar 21, 2011
But moreover, I'm really unhappy that you're poisoning this serious issue with your own obvious political prejudices (from decrying the government to decrying welfare to calling for more discipline). I brought up the fact that the government has hurt them (specifically their cultural revivals) at every turn to make a point about historical context. You specifically mentioned how welfare is bad. If anything, these people need MORE aid--Native American poverty surpasses all others in the US. These people need aid--but aid that they can fit within their cultural framework. The Western idea of welfare may not be what works for them.

But discipline? Are you serious? When has discipline EVER helped suicidal children? When has discipline ever helped non-suicidal adults for that matter? These people need help, not punishment. You're sick (or just ignorant) if you think otherwise.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (9) Mar 21, 2011
Are they not humans?
"human beings have an inherited universal structure shaped by the demands made upon the species for survival"
The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature [

What makes them suicidal is depression. They are depressed because they have no hope living on the rez in the middle of the great plains.

A friend from Belvidere, SD, near the Pine Ridge reservation recalls Sioux Indians returning from WWII in uniform and acting like everyone else. After a few weeks with their 'culture', they were depressed drunks.

Sure, they need help. But not the kind of help suggested here.

The Sioux were once a proud people that were defeated and 'taken care of' by the whites.
The Allies defeated and punished the Germans after WWI. Look what happened.
After WWII, the US built up the Germans and Japanese self respect. How does welfare support that?
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (7) Mar 21, 2011
New Zealand had/has similar problems with their aboriginal population.
I also hear similar problems exist in isolated, South Pacific islands not 'invaded' by the evil west.
Before attempting to solve the problem in MT, causes must be isolated. Asserting the cause is the Indian culture without analyzing all aspects will wast time, resources before a solution can be proposed.
JOHNSPEAKS
1 / 5 (3) Mar 21, 2011
I worked for years at one of the top mental health rehabilitation facility (FH) in northern new jersey and interacted with thousands of mental health clients? We discovered a way to stop all suicides among the clients in the last two years of my employment? We the support staff were fired or laid off after we tried to bring this concept of eliminating suicides in mental health facilities? Suicides are the bread and butter of the never ending mental health ponzi scheme???
kaasinees
2.6 / 5 (10) Mar 21, 2011
Please ignore ryggesogn2 ... I am starting to believe he has some kind of political agenda of some sort. Or is just a fat troll.
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (10) Mar 21, 2011
"The federal deployment cost $241,000, with an additional $50,000 grant from the Department of Education. There is no additional federal money planned to deal with the crisis.

More is needed, said Patty McGeshick, director of the Family Violence Resource Center in Wolf Point."

It IS political. "Indian Health Service (IHS) is an Operating Division (OPDIV) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)."

"Spiritual leaders say the suicides are rooted in an identity crisis that goes to a cultural and spiritual bankruptcy among Indian youth."

Whose fault is that? Did you note "rampant substance abuse" on the reservation?

Maybe this will help if real jobs can be created:
http://www.fortpe...out.html

Bottom line is I think it is typical 'elite' condescension to blame 'culture'.

Indian reservations are great examples of socialism in action.
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (11) Mar 21, 2011
"On a reservation with a population of about 23,000, there are 1,200 families on the 10-year-long waiting list for subsidized federal housing."
"the only ethnic group with a government agency -- the Bureau of Indian Affairs -- specifically devoted to its well-being."
{Maybe they need less govt 'help'}
"Circumstances of history have brought us to a welfare state that perpetuates dependency and despair . . "

http://www.emayzi...dian.htm

"Voter fraud isn't unknown on reservations. Democrats have often given out free tickets to Election Day picnics for voters on the Pine Ridge Reservation, where 63% of people live below the poverty level."
http://www.ejfi.o...g-80.htm

Why would 'liberals' want to really help Indians be less dependent upon them? 'Liberals' are like heroin dealers keeping their supporters dependent upon them.
Scart
2.3 / 5 (6) Mar 21, 2011
The issue of culture gets caught between whether Native Americans needed to be assimilated completely--where it would be said that they should have been given reservations to protect their culture--or white people ought never to have come to America, in which case Native Americans ought to themsevels go back to Siberia. 2,000,000 acres in Montana can be seen as idyllic.
Scart
not rated yet Mar 21, 2011
As for suicides, bullying and job prospects are important issues, as well as sweat lodges. Having done a couple of sweat lodges myself I can say that they are incredibly intense. Hot yoga may serve the purpose for Native American teenagers: it brings blood circulation to areas of the brain that are under-stimulated. It's very difficult to replace the stimulation that comes from a hunter-gatherer tradition. The sweat lodges can be too intense or aren't physically active enough.
Sleepy
2.3 / 5 (4) Mar 22, 2011
I like that the Baptist minister complained about the loss of their native culture. We all know the Indians have a deep-seated culture of Christianity.

Ryg shows his true colors, falling on the notion that native American suffering is a liberal plot to get more votes. Do Indians really add that much sway to elections? Conservatives can't be bothered to care about people who don't vote for them?
ryggesogn2
1.9 / 5 (11) Mar 22, 2011
Do Indians really add that much sway to elections?

Their real and fraudulent votes kept Tom Daschle in office a few more years.

As for cultural assimilation in the USA, cultures from around the world have figured out some way to keep their culture and be a part of the USA. Of course these immigrants didn't have a federal govt agency to 'help' them.

If the federal govt is so great, why are the places under their jurisdiction have so many problems: DC, Indian reservations, ...?
Skeptic_Heretic
3.3 / 5 (7) Mar 23, 2011
If the federal govt is so great, why are the places under their jurisdiction have so many problems: DC, Indian reservations, ...?
Three words:

People like you.
Sleepy
4 / 5 (4) Mar 23, 2011
DC is doing pretty well, actually. They had crime problems in the 80s and early 90s, but from Wikipedia, "The crime rate started to fall in the late 1990s as the crack epidemic gave way to economic revitalization projects." So some government intervention did help DC recover.

Tribal lands are under far less government jurisdiction than the rest of the country. That's why many reservations have built casinos, they make their own laws. The problem is that reservations are often on useless land, meaning the people can't make a living. The government was wrong to have put them in terrible places, but government support agencies are not holding them down.
Sleepy
not rated yet Mar 23, 2011
Ryg, your mention of the Indian voting record behind Tom Daschle is also the other way around. He was narrowly voted into office with help from the native population, but he stayed in office with a large majority. They didn't vote for him because he was repressing them either, he was the most vocal supporter the native Americans had. You're right that there were charges of fraud against Daschle, but his opponents were also accused of the same. None of the charges resulted in legal action or recounts, so take that as you will.
SteveL
5 / 5 (3) Mar 23, 2011
Sleepy made an important point. Many reservations are geographically located in areas outside the normal trade routes. Consequently businesses are not prone to invest capital to build businesses in locations that don't have the resources (power, water, sewage, trained labor, locally available parts and support services, etc.) needed to support a successful business. It's really an endless trap; you don't have the resources because you don't have the demand (business).

These kids aren't stupid. Their perception is of a dim future. If you've always had options and a vision for your future you just can't envision what it is like to be without, and a perception of no hope of ever having control of your life. No hope is an endless ache. When you have options it's easy to judge the unemployed and the helpless. For many the welfare state is the only slim lifeline they have. It's not what they want, it's not thier preference, but it's all they have.
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (7) Mar 26, 2011
Their perception is of a dim future.

They can do what many kids do when their are few opportunities, get an education and move away.
None of the charges resulted in legal action or recounts,

Voter fraud seldom results in legal action, but it should. Maybe that's why democrats are so opposed to picture ID for voting. And, of course, the democrats love same day registration and 'motor voter'.
Caliban
4 / 5 (4) Mar 27, 2011
Their perception is of a dim future.

They can do what many kids do when their are few opportunities, get an education and move away.
None of the charges resulted in legal action or recounts,

Voter fraud seldom results in legal action, but it should. Maybe that's why democrats are so opposed to picture ID for voting. And, of course, the democrats love same day registration and 'motor voter'.


Or, you could educate yourself about conditions on the ground on reservations, instead of dispensing your freimarket remedy Rx.

A good place to start would be an article in the February 2011 issue of Harper's(I know, I know -goddam commies)entitled "Tiny Little Laws" about the rampant rape and sexual abuse that occurs(in this instance, Sioux) on the res, and how the legal tangle of Fed vs Native law interferes with any solution:

http://www.harper...3300.pdf

And that's only one aspect of the problem.

ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (6) Mar 27, 2011
he legal tangle of Fed vs Native law interferes with any solution:

Why won't they fix the problem?
Making excuses won't help.
Caliban
5 / 5 (3) Mar 27, 2011
he legal tangle of Fed vs Native law interferes with any solution:

Why won't they fix the problem?
Making excuses won't help.


Again, read the article, and acquire some insight before offering some flip, ignorance revealing comment.

SteveL
5 / 5 (3) Mar 28, 2011
Their perception is of a dim future.

They can do what many kids do when their are few opportunities, get an education and move away.


Many kids do and many kids can. I know I did. But, many kids can't. For me, my "out" was the military.

You apparently don't understand how desperate the lives of some people can be. Some people can't just "get an education and move away." Even if tuition is paid for by a program, how do they get there? Where do they live? Programs that pay for everything are few and far between, and have highly competitive requirements.

Why won't they fix the problem?
Making excuses won't help.


They who, and with what resources? Many, if not most reservations were set up with the intent that the Native Americans be stuck in some god-forsaken patch of worthless land so they can simply die off. I really think the little assistance they get only serves to enslave the native people and sooth the conscience of dominant Americans.
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (8) Mar 28, 2011
Indians have an entire govt agency designed to help them. What's the problem?

Immigrants enter the USA, legally even today, with nothing and can somehow build a life for themselves.

Until the Indians address their cultural issues, not much will change.
Modernmystic
2 / 5 (6) Mar 28, 2011
So, you are all so caught up in being against marjon that you people can't HONESTLY see that making people totally dependent strips their pride and sense of meaning in the context of their lives?

REALLY?

He's got a valid point whether or not you want to admit it or see it.
JRDarby
4.5 / 5 (4) Mar 28, 2011
That may be, Modernmystic, but he's calling for us to "fix" suicidal Native American children with, quote, "discipline."

Furthermore, everything Marjon has said is in contradiction of the idea of creating and bestowing a sense of meaning in these kids' lives. Their definition of meaning will be (though not entirely) somewhat different than yours and the point of my earlier statements is to admonish everyone into making sure the meaning you're trying to create is meaning that works for them.

Modernmystic
3.8 / 5 (5) Mar 28, 2011
That may be, Modernmystic, but he's calling for us to "fix" suicidal Native American children with, quote, "discipline."


I wasn't speaking to that, I was speaking to the fact that when you get a handout (whether fiscal/concrete or emotional) you still pay a price...a really high one at that.

...Their definition of meaning will be (though not entirely) somewhat different than yours and the point of my earlier statements is to admonish everyone into making sure the meaning you're trying to create is meaning that works for them.


I agree, but I also recognize that as human beings some things are universal. One of those things is that being independent and self sufficient instills people not only with a sense of pride, but also a sense of self derived purpose.

Dependency generally isn't good for human beings. Whether it be financial, chemical, or emotional...that's ALL human beings.
Caliban
4 / 5 (4) Mar 28, 2011
Indians have an entire govt agency designed to help them. What's the problem?

Immigrants enter the USA, legally even today, with nothing and can somehow build a life for themselves.

Until the Indians address their cultural issues, not much will change.


The typical response of the willfully, knowlingly, ignorant Mangy Swenson.

Why bother with facts, when you can so glibly spew uninformed opinion?

We all have an agency created specifically to collect tax revenues from us, named the IRS, and yet, GE, BOA, ATT haven't paid any taxes in multiple years just in the past decade. So your point regarding having a specific agency created to some purpose is entirely moot, and further, egregious.

Why don't you spare us all your blatherings and bootstrap yourself back into the mangyhole.

ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (7) Mar 28, 2011
"The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) mission is to:
" enhance the quality of life, to promote economic opportunity, and to carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of American Indians, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives."

The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) mission is to:
" provide quality education opportunities from early childhood through life in accordance with the tribes needs to cultural and economic well being in keeping with the wide diversity of Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages as distinct cultural and governmental entities. The Bureau considers the whole person (spiritual, mental, physical and cultural aspects.)""
http://www.bia.go...ndex.htm
An example of another failed govt agency.
SteveL
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 29, 2011
I agree, but I also recognize that as human beings some things are universal. One of those things is that being independent and self sufficient instills people not only with a sense of pride, but also a sense of self derived purpose.

Dependency generally isn't good for human beings. Whether it be financial, chemical, or emotional...that's ALL human beings.

There is no human who survives without the help of some infrastructure. Do you produce your own power and water? Do you make your own clothes, grow all the food you eat and produce the medicines you need when you are sick? Do you know anyone who fits this description? Who is really "self-sufficient"?

We trade our time and skills for these things, usually by working a job. What do you do when there are insuffficient jobs for the populace? "Move" you would say. But then you wouldn't understand a people who are desperately trying to hang onto their culture, their understanding of who and what they are.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (6) Mar 29, 2011
We trade our time and skills for these things,

Yes, TRADE, not dependency.
desperately trying to hang onto their culture,

200 years ago their choice would have been to hang on to their culture or die.
The Sioux adapted their culture quite well to horses and firearms.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (3) Mar 29, 2011
There is no human who survives without the help of some infrastructure. Do you produce your own power and water? Do you make your own clothes, grow all the food you eat and produce the medicines you need when you are sick? Do you know anyone who fits this description? Who is really "self-sufficient"?


Way to knock down that strawman *claps*

So how much crack have you done today? Had your morning pint of vodka? Stop by the local government office to get your paycheck for being born with a certain genetic profile yet? How about called your girlfriend your daily 20 times to fill that void inside your heart?

GET IT??

Modernmystic
1 / 5 (5) Mar 29, 2011
If that didn't clear it up for you maybe this will

Noun 1. interdependence - a reciprocal relation between interdependent entities (objects or individuals or groups)

Which is what you were describing....

Noun 1. dependence - being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming (especially alcohol or narcotic drugs)

2. dependence - the state of relying on or being controlled by someone or something else

Which is what *I* was describing. But some of you people just LOVE to point out "it takes a village" to stretch a point to absurdity even when it's blatantly and obviously inappropriate.

What's really sad is that some of you honestly can't even tell the difference between the two concepts defined above. Are you really that dense? That's not a rhetorical question....
ryggesogn2
1.2 / 5 (9) Mar 29, 2011
What socialism does is try to make people DEPENDENT upon the govt so the govt can control people.
A govt the respects individual rights wants to encourage people to be independent, to be responsible for themselves and for their families.
It is better to teach someone to fish than to keep giving them fish.
In Yellowstone Park, if you want to cause the death of grizzly bears, encourage tourists to feed them.
Look at what the dependents are doing in London and Greece when they get cut off.
SteveL
5 / 5 (2) Mar 31, 2011
Native Americans cannot be classified as all the same any more than any other race. They aren't the same type of conservative that "conservatives" understand nor are they the same kind of liberal that "liberals" understand. They don't fit in the neat boxes of black or white, right or wrong or politically left or right... However historically they tended to be individually conservative and self reliant. Socially they tended to be communal within their own family, tribe, town or village.

Provided with the geography, opportunity and resources I am fairly certain Native Americans would rather be just as productive and successful as anyone else, within the structure of thier separate cultures. They don't want to be white, which not only should be, but has to be OK.

Well paying jobs, resources, quality medical, quality higher education and other 1st world benefits the rest of us enjoy are generally are not available. So, exactly how do they break this cycle without help?
Modernmystic
2.3 / 5 (6) Mar 31, 2011
So, exactly how do they break this cycle without help?


By allowing them to "grow up". Basically leaving them alone, and that means not allowing the local blue hairs to dictate whether or not they can build Casinos on their SOVEREIGN NATION because it happens to be within fifty miles of a local Baptist Church.

More to the point though, define help here for me Steve. Are you helping an Alcoholic by running to the liquor store to get him a bottle because he's too sloshed to drive?

We've been doing what we're doing for them for a long while now...how's it working for them? How's it working for us? Ready to try something different yet?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) Mar 31, 2011
, exactly how do they break this cycle without help?

Stop treating them like children who need help.
SteveL
5 / 5 (2) Mar 31, 2011
Basically, "help" will have to start from the ground up with opportunity. This means viable local jobs, viable skill training and thick skin. Build a community with a long view in mind. These people have been dumpped on for hundreds of years. They will likely be welcoming, but don't expect them to trust you completely.

Since you seem to have a conservative perspective, I reccomend the following web site: h_t_t_p://www.badeagle.com/

You can ask them yourself.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) Mar 31, 2011
dumpped on for hundreds of years

These were the people that kicked Custer's arse just over 100 years ago.
Dumped on?

BTW, links now work.
Modernmystic
2.3 / 5 (6) Mar 31, 2011
Basically, "help" will have to start from the ground up with opportunity. This means viable local jobs, viable skill training and thick skin. Build a community with a long view in mind.


Do you think communities are cut, pasted, and "built", or are they an emergent form of human interaction? You can't MAKE opportunity. You can't legislate "viable local jobs" any more than you can solve the obesity problem in America by congress passing a law changing the gravitational constant of the universe.

You can't FORCE a community into existence.

Since you seem to have a conservative perspective,


No indeed. If I were a conservative I'd be against "letting" them gamble, legalize pot, or whatever they wanted to do with THEIR land because it conflicted with my "infallible" moral code.

I'm coming from a perspective of what is honestly best for them. It's the very least they deserve.

ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Mar 31, 2011
SteveL
5 / 5 (2) Apr 01, 2011
This is really just basic economics. We tend to think of those who came to this country as emigrants and who had nothing. When they arrived there was an infrastructure in place to support their dreams and ambitions. There were people around who had money and who could pay for goods and services provided by the ambitious. Even the first Europeans who arrived in the Americas at least were able to pick and choose locations that provided the resources needed to make successful towns.

All reservations are different. Some are at least partially successful. Some however are located, as dictated by the Federal government over 100 years ago, in locations that do not have resources, they are located away from other population centers and basic infrastructures we take for granted. There is no one to buy anything they produce, if they could get their product to them. The preferred economic situation is not available to them. What few jobs are available are subsistance level.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (2) Apr 01, 2011
All reservations are different. Some are at least partially successful. Some however are located, as dictated by the Federal government over 100 years ago, in locations that do not have resources, they are located away from other population centers and basic infrastructures we take for granted. There is no one to buy anything they produce, if they could get their product to them. The preferred economic situation is not available to them. What few jobs are available are subsistance level.


One word...Israel.

Moreover, what do you suggest? If it's as bad as you say what is legislation, or government assistance going to do to change the land? Should we forcibly re-settle OTHER people who've been where they have been for generations?
SteveL
5 / 5 (2) Apr 04, 2011
I'm more conservative than most conservatives (practicaly a Libertarian on some issues), so I understand where you are coming from concerning humans being responsible for themselves and productive. I also understand where you are coming from concering this failed government experiment with socialism here. In my opinion this is typical of what happens when a government is too involved in the lives of a populace - they control your wealth (opportunity) and then control your lives.

That said; this is a mess that was created and sustained by the US government. The same old economics and the same old goverment involvement will not lead to success here, but I believe that it is up to that same government to clean up this mess and make things right as possible for these people.

I have never seen any viable published short or long-term plans by the BIA whereby the Native Americans would be enabled to succeed. That would simply put the BIA out of business.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 04, 2011

All reservations are different. Some are at least partially successful. Some however are located, as dictated by the Federal government over 100 years ago, in locations that do not have resources, they are located away from other population centers and basic infrastructures we take for granted. There is no one to buy anything they produce, if they could get their product to them. The preferred economic situation is not available to them. What few jobs are available are subsistance level.

Like everyone else in the USA, they can vote with their feet.
SteveL
5 / 5 (1) Apr 05, 2011
[Like everyone else in the USA, they can vote with their feet.


And many do. But in any society there are those who will leave for greener pastures and then there are those who hang on to the hope, that in the place where they were born and live - things will get better somehow. Again, you can't put everyone into neatly arrainged catagories. There are several problems with people leaving including that cultural memories and traditions are eventually forgotten and, racial purity is diluted. To many of us who are a mixed bag of racial stock and have little cultural history it may not matter, but then this issue and topic isn't really about us, is it?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Apr 05, 2011
Steve, I find it arrogant and condescending that 'we' must 'help' those poor, culturally repressed Indians.
US govt officials are bending over backwards to blame a minister in FL who burned a Koran for causing Muslims to murder, again.
Are Muslims people? Are Indians people? If they are, then they need to be respected by being held account for their actions.
Children and animals are not typically held accountable for their actions. Are Muslims and Indians children or animals or intelligent, adult human beings?
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (3) Apr 05, 2011
That said; this is a mess that was created and sustained by the US government. The same old economics and the same old goverment involvement will not lead to success here, but I believe that it is up to that same government to clean up this mess and make things right as possible for these people.


So government over involvement got us into this. How does the government get us "out"?
SteveL
5 / 5 (2) Apr 05, 2011
So government over involvement got us into this. How does the government get us "out"?

Again, it can't be the same old song and dance - just throwing money at an issue. I'm no fan of a welfare state. Infrastructure must be built, training provided and opportunities (jobs) made available so these people can help themselves. Again, a sustainable community is needed. It won't happen over night, or in a year or 10 years. The government needs a viable exit strategy. If we can build nations outside our borders, why not inside our borders?

These people have had their world and resources taken away and been forced to move to untenable locations with no resourced and forced to live a 3rd world nation standard while those around them progressed. If Americans have any national conscience at all these people don't need to be cared for, they need to be enabled at home - by the same government that set them up for failure. The BIA needs to be put out of business by success.
SteveL
5 / 5 (2) Apr 06, 2011
Steve, I find it arrogant and condescending that 'we' must 'help' those poor, culturally repressed Indians.

Actually, Native people were doing just fine until western Europeans came along. But that's now a moot point because the Americas were a vacuum and nature will fill a vacuum. Someone would have come here.

What isn't a moot point is that there are groups of people in the USA that have been forced to fail by federal government policies. That same government needs to step up and do what it can to fix what it broke. If we can go into other countries to "fix" their political and economic issues, why can we not fix issues here at home. I'm of the opinion that we should concern ourselves with putting our own house in order before we go off and mess with someone else's. When we run around the world spending hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives to "fix" other nations while ignoring our own, that is arrogant and condescending.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Apr 06, 2011
Native people were doing just fine

By what standard?
forced to fail

How have the Indians been forced to fail? You agree then than it has been govt dependency that has resulted in problems faced by Indians and blacks and other groups the govt wants to 'help'?
SteveL
5 / 5 (1) Apr 20, 2011
Native people were doing just fine

By what standard?

By thier standard, which is the only one that counts.
forced to fail

How have the Indians been forced to fail? You agree then than it has been govt dependency that has resulted in problems faced by Indians and blacks and other groups the govt wants to 'help'?

When you are forced away from your home all that you know and your way of life, when your ability to provide for yourself is taken away and subsituted with a subsistance-level federal dole as the only resource - that is a recipe for failure. And it worked.
Yes, government dependancy is one of the biggest problems in this or any any society. It reduces individual productivity and places a greater burden on the productive. That said; this issue is more about the entity responsible for this mess (the US federal govt.) being held accouuntable to fix it as best it can. It may be the only entity with the resources to do so.

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