It is virtually impossible to find anyone in Indian Country whose life has not been scarred by the tragic loss of beautiful, cherished and beloved young people . . . by their own hands.
This epidemic is devastating families, cultures, communities, Indian nations and tribes.
The Coalition for the Prevention of Native American Youth Suicide was formed by grassroots Native American leadership from across the First Nations with one purpose: To train and develop American Indian and Alaska Native youth as peer leaders, to work within their respective communities counseling at-risk youth, focusing on reducing suicide, substance abuse and physical abuse and enhancing their quality of life.
Using a curriculum designed by Native American counselor and educators AND Native American youth themselves, our program – FLYING WITH EAGLES – empowers Native American YOUTH as a first line of defense against suicide and substance abuse. The Native youth who helped create FLYING WITH EAGLES made it clear that only a youth can effectively communicate with another youth. We believe we ought to listen to their wisdom.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death in Native children aged 15 through 24. The suicide rate of Native American males in this age group is 51.3 per 100,000 compared to 3.9 per 100,000 for non-Native youth. Statistics reveal that for each Indian youth suicide there are another 25 failed attempts.
Native American youth suicide and substance abuse is the result of challenges that span decades:
- 37% of Native children live in poverty
- 39% of Native youth aged 12 to 17 have a lifetime prevalence of illicit drug use
- 47% of Native youth in the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs’ schools do not graduate
- 17% of Native children have no health insurance
- 58% of 3- and 4-year old Native children do not attend any form of pre-school
- 15% of Native children are not in school and are not working
These staggering statistical disparities continue across all of the socioeconomic areas impacting youth.
Over the years we’ve learned that Indian youth dream of a better life but simply do not have the tools to break the chains imposed by decades of poverty and oppression. The FLYING WITH EAGLES program is successful and effective. You can help overcome this challenge and become an important part of their futures and their successes.
No parent should ever have to bury their child . . . and certainly not because of a life ended at the child’s own hands.
To continue our grassroots efforts we need support from people like you.
If currently you can’t financially support our work, please help us get the word out by sharing our story with everyone you encounter. Or for other options please visit the “Get Involved” page on this website.
If your church or community organization does outreach work, please ask that they consider supporting FLYING WITH EAGLES.