South Dakota media finally paying attention to suicide issues

Dear Editor,

Please find the links to stories and video by Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, S.D. on the tragic suicide epidemic involving Lakota youth and young adults.

The youth suicide problem on and around the Lakota Rosebud Reservation is finally get the recognition it deserves.

Kudos to reporter Steve Young and any other members of the Argus Leader staff and management involved with this important story.

Lakota community leader Tillie Black Bear and others have worked tirelessly to bring this issue to the attention of many.

Black Bear and a few other brave Native women founded the White Buffalo Calf Woman’s Society 31 years ago this October – the first domestic violence shelter on a Native American reservation. (

The WBCWS has done its best to provide counselors and alternatives – and held a suicide summit earlier this summer.

The non-profit Turtle Island Project in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Munising) and others have been trying to get South Dakota media to pay attention for over a year.


On Sept. 21, 2008, the Argus Leader newspaper did a thought-provoking, great but sad series of articles (and related videos) on the problem. Some 16 Rosebud members have killed themselves and over 400 youths have attempted suicide in the past few years.

Except for some American Indian media, only a handful of the white news media (including KOTA-TV and the Lutheran Magazine) have done much coverage of the issue that caused Rosebud Leaders to declare a state of emergency in the spring of 2007.

Numerous American Indian news outlets and websites helped the Turtle Island Project spread the word last fall. (That media includes Indian Country Today, Native Times, Native America Calling, News From Indian Country, Yahoo Indigenous Peoples Forum, Red Nation Society, Pow Wow TV, Native Radio, and others we don’t mean to leave out). Thanks also to the Custer Lutheran Fellowship Church in Custer, SD.

The stories can be found On The Net at:

The titles to search for include some of the following: Why are young Lakota killing themselves?; Despite stable home, teen chose death: Searching for solutions; Tribe takes steps to “stop this pain;” Opportunity presents hope for youth.

For more info:
Javier H. Alegree

Public Relations Specialist
Media and Education

White Buffalo Calf Woman Society,   Inc.
PO Box 227

Mission, South Dakota 57555
PH. 605-856-2317
FX. 605-856-2494