A pair of young Native American dancers stand together during the opening "grand entry" to start the Oglala Nation Pow Wow and Rodeo in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, August 4, 2006. The annual festival is a bright spot for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, which struggles with high unemployment and problems with substance abuse and gangs and is one of the poorest communities in the United States. (REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST)
Native American communities continue to suffer teen suicides at heartbreaking rates. The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs is committing funds to help a school on the Pine Ridge Lakota reservation in South Dakota, which was recently struck by four student suicides. The reservation struggles with high unemployment and problems with substance abuse and gangs and is one of the poorest communities in the United States.
The school requested the grant money through the Education Department’s Project SERV (School Emergency Response to Violence). With the funds, Pine Ridge will be able to hire an additional counselor and social worker for the next 12 months, better implement a Lakota-based healing program and bring in cultural teachers to provide monthly lessons on healing processes, according to information provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
More in a recent New York Times article: “Pine Ridge Indian Reservation Struggles With Suicides Among Its Young.”
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