This video from a Rapid City, South Dakota TV newscast is posted with permission from KOTA TV News Director...
This video from a Rapid City, South Dakota TV newscast is posted with permission from KOTA TV News Director John Petersen.
KOTA TV did an excellent story on the tragic problem of teen suicide at the Lakota Rosebud Reservation.
The teen suicide issue is just one of the projects of the White Buffalo Calf Woman Society (WBCWS) in Mission, S.D. that has served the Rosebud Sioux Reservation for nearly 30 years.
On Sunday August 12 a benefit concert to aid the WBCWS will be held at the Custer Lutheran Fellowship Church in Custer, S.D. (More information on the concert is at the end of this page)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe declares state of emergency on reservation suicides
By Lela French
For nearly a decade teen suicide has been one of the biggest problems on the Rosebud Reservation.
"The belief right now is that it is at a crisis state," says Tillie Black Bear Executive Director of White Buffalo Calf Women.
But in the past two years the problem has gotten even worse.
Lino Spotted Elk is one of many fathers who had to deal with the loss of his son who committed suicide two years ago at the age of 19.
"It's really impacted myself and my family as far as of course the loss of a loved one. But also you know the way he went. You don't expect to bury your child," says Lino Spotted Elk.
But many parents have had to do just that.
Council members say in the past two years there were more than four hundred suicide attempts at least 10 of those were successful, and most were teenage boys.
Which is why tribal council members are declaring a state of emergency.
"The task force right now is attempting to bring together all the different agencies and programs on the reservation that are addressing suicide in anyway," says Black Bear.
Black bear says alcohol and drugs play a huge role in the number of suicides, but each case is different.
Social problems, depression, and poverty also contribute to the numbers.
"Many of these teens don't recognize that they're just at this place and time at this particular moment that tomorrow things could be different," says Black Bear.
Some prevention measures are already in place, but Spotted Elk says parents should just do what he regrets not doing.
"Spend more time with your children and do more things with them, you know in the prevention aspect. To help other parents prevent this from happening," says Spotted Elk.
If you are interested in helping, a benefit concert is being held in Custer at the Lutheran Fellowship Church Sunday, August 12th at 5:00PM.
For more information you can call the White Buffalo Calf Woman Society, Inc. at 605-856-2317
KOTA (TV-3) Territory News (ABC)
News Director John Petersen
Assignment Editor Jack Siebold
News Producer Jennifer Stahl
More info on concert - Sunday, August 12, 2007 in Custer S.D.:
The public is invited to free benefit concert at 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 12, 2007 at the Custer Lutheran Fellowship church in Custer, S.D. with donations for the White Buffalo Calf Woman Society domestic violence program, the nation's first battered woman's shelter for Native American women and children in Mission, S.D. that has served the Rosebud Indian Reservation for nearly 30 years.
Performing will be family string band White Water and Duo Borealis, two groups known for their unique folk music from Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
For more information contact Rev. Dave Van Kley at 605-673-4691.
Links to indepth concert/WBCWS stories:
AAA Native Arts
KOTA TV ABC Rapid City - Teen Suicide/Benefit Concert story
Urth TV blog:
Native American Times: