Suicide, Alcohol, Unemployment: Life as a Young Native American

We’re indoctrinated from kinder-garden that stereotyping is bad. Never mind that it’s a basic cognitive function.

As in, if it has four legs and flat surface, it’s probably a table. But, when it comes to humans, we are supposed to be somehow immune to this.

According to this BBC documentary above: things are not easy for young Native Americans.

Some sound bites:

Indian reservations are technically managed by the tribes.

Of the nine reservations in South Dakota, they are some of the poorest areas in the U.S.

“Around here it’s kind of hard because of all of the drugs and alcohol.”

“There’s lots of suicides and that kind of stuff.”

“People lose hope and they feel maybe oppressed.”

“We’ve all fallen as teenagers around here. We’ve all experimented with alcohol and things.”

Almost half of the reservations’ population is under 24 and Native youth have the highest rate of suicide in the U.S.

Chronic alcoholism “is thought” to contribute to a higher rate of death, domestic abuse, and unemployment on the reservation.

"They took everything from us." (Screenshot/Youtube)

“They took everything from us.” (Screenshot/Youtube)

What can be done???

It may be true that by just pretending that all of the above are racist stereotypes we can solve the problem … just pretend like it doesn’t exist.

Reality has not borne this out to be true.

But what is true is that there are reasons behind the continued disadvantage in the Native American community and that individuals are doing the best they can to beat these statistics.  


It seems that positive attitudes go a long way. While negative attitudes, even if historically justified (PC-speak), tend to have the exact opposite effect.

America may be a stolen land. But here’s something that kids are definitely not indoctrinated to understand: life is hard. If you don’t do the right things yourself, no amount of injustice will make your life any better. And that may be the most “racist” thing a person can say nowadays.

Too bad it’s probably the only thing that can help many “disadvantaged” communities.

So who’s really keeping “the people” down? The racist society or their so-called advocates? In many cases it’s both.

And in many cases, some of the advocates do more harm than any modern-day racist by keeping people feeling angry, defenseless, and that they’re perpetual victims.

On top of the objective reality of cyclical poverty, oppression, and whatever prejudice there is inside and outside the community, a victim mentality will ensure that such things never change.

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