Historical trauma sounds like an academic term. It does not hit you in the gut. Not like teen suicide does.
But teen suicide is one of the real world ways that historical trauma shows up in Native American communities. Consider the following data from a Huffington Post article last November: Native American Youth Suicide Rates Are At Crisis Levels:
Suicide looks very different in Native communities than it does in the general population. Nationally, suicide tends to skew middle-aged (and white); but among Native Americans, 40 percent of those who die by suicide are between the ages of 15 and 24. And among young adults ages 18 to 24, Native American have higher rates of suicide than any other ethnicity, and higher than the general population.
The issue got high profile attention last fall when the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a report with new data. Coverage included the Huffington Post, Time magazine and Medical Daily. The reports included heart-wrenching stories, such as this one from the PBS News Hour:
When Joaquin Gallegos was 5-years-old, his uncle took his own life.
For two decades, more than 30 of his family members and friends did the same, part of a trend sweeping Indian Country where suicide among people age 18 to 24 far outpaces the national rate, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Consider the impact it would have had on you as a youth if even two of your friends and family members had committed suicide. It would have been devastating
Why is the suicide rate so high for Native youth? Continue reading