Suicidal Rates among Aboriginal People

Considering that suicide among aboriginals was almost non-existent in the 1980’s, it is shocking to learn that the suicide rate for Aboriginals now is almost 5 times that of the National Average. Suicide and self-injury is the leading cause of death for Aboriginals up to the age of 44 and is especially common among the Aboriginal youth. Why are suicide rates so high? Is it a result of the psychological impact that residential schools had all those years ago? Or is it something else entirely?

There are many theories as to why suicide is so prominent within the aboriginal community. Some theories talk about acculturative stress. Acculturative stress is defined as a reduction in health status. This stress would be derived from circumstances such as residential school experiences, forced adoption or foster care, forced relocation as a community, and denied recognition as a race (as the Metis experienced). This stress can be passed on to other generations through intergenerational trauma. Intergenerational trauma is when trauma is passed on from first generation trauma survivors to second generation offspring and so on. Experiencing such things could put individuals at risk of suicide.

Another theory includes an observed domino effect. Aboriginal community members have noted that some suicides have occurred as if to imitate a previous suicide. It has been noted that youth tend to romanticize the idea of suicide. Other sources comment on how suicides seem to be normalizing. More theories include it being a result of racism, poor health, and unbearable childhood traumas.

When asked about the reasons behind the high suicide rates, Ermineskin First Nation Chief Randy Ermineskin said that it’s “a very, very tough question to answer because you can say one thing and then the next day the ones you think are doing right could be the ones that are affected by it. There`s too much noise out there for our young people nowadays and we`re not monitoring it and we don`t know what`s going on behind their bedroom doors.”

This April, the UN and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PEII) met and addressed many issues including the suicide rate concerns. Following the meeting, it has been recommended that the World Health Organization “address self-harm and suicide among indigenous children and young people” (iisd).

Luckily, measures are already being taken to prevent these aboriginal suicides. Health Canada have created a National Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy (NAYSPS). NAYSPS aims to work to involve Aboriginals in more community-based activities related to preventing suicide. They also plan to increase the number of local suicide prevention professionals as well as youth connections online. There is also the Centre for Suicide Prevention that has adopted similar strategies. The website “Creative Spirits” suggest that efforts be made to heal the trauma that suicide leave on communities. They also talk about working to strengthen Aboriginal culture and language within the people as well as teach Aboriginal culture in schools and recognize Aboriginal laws.

While plans are being made to fix this issue, this is not an issue that is well known. We, as a community, need to help by raising awareness of this suicide crisis as well as work to support the Aboriginal communities. By raising awareness, we can hope that news of this problem will reach the ears of people that can make an impact on the issue. These Aboriginal suicide rates are much higher than those of non-aboriginals, especially in youth, and it is something that needs to be addressed for the sake of the suffering communities.

Humans are like the colour Purple

B2: Evaluate the impact of interactions between Aboriginal peoples and European explorers and settlers in Canada from 1815-1914.

When looking at this topic and its Suggested Achievement Indicators (SAIs), something that really draws my attention is the involvement of Aboriginals, especially Aboriginal women, in the Fur Trade. I love that this topic can tie into other SAIs through building off of that topic. For example, because the Aboriginals helped with fur trading, the helped with the economic development that Canada gained from the Fur Trade. During the role play, I researched a lot about Aboriginal women’s involvement in the fur trade, being that my role had me being one myself. Passion-wise, I find that I’m interested in this topic because I like learning of circumstances and times when women, still possibly being seen as a minority, had vital roles in shaping societies that we have today, or at least helping us to get here.

One aspect that really interests me is the friendship treaties that the Aboriginals made with the people of Nova Scotia. Questions that this topic sparks include things like how did they work, how were they enforced, did they need to be enforced, etc. Another question would be what would happen if we were to try and implement such treaties nowadays. Would it work? Do we even have cause too? I suppose we could conclude that the treaties were simply truces that were made and honoured with no need to be enforced. As far as making those treaties nowadays, I would need much more information before trying to answer that question. I will know that these questions are answered when I have an answer that I can accept as viable as well as accurate, logical, and factually backed up.

This PLO can be connected with various different PLOs. B2 analyses interactions between roles established in B1. It shows the influence of immigration on Canadian Society (B3) because it shows how immigrated cultures (French, British, Irish, etc.) are influencing existing cultures (the Aboriginals). These connections show that society isn’t black and white, that they can’t be divided into separated sections. Humans are a messy species, we are imperfect, and because of this, the lines that are drawn to attempt division are blurred and overlapping. That’s the way the world works. Even when dividing colour, purple can be both blue and red.


How is it May already?

Now I know my schedule should have been up yesterday but I was at a dance competition until late last night. I know…. not an excuse…. but fear not! A schedule you shall have!

May 2 (today!!) : How to Organize

9: What and How to Pack For an Adventure Trip

16: Reacting to Old Photos

23: My In-Depth Night Video

30: Welcome to In-Depth

Now, as I hinted, I am uploading a video RIGHT NOW so make sure you keep an eye on my channel as it will be going up.

Have a wonderful day. Bye!