For my Hurricane Season course, we were asked to research an unnatural disaster that is meaningful to us. Our requirements were to find an unnatural disaster happening (or that happened) both here in the U.S. and somewhere around the world. After finding and comparing the disaster we had to create an annotated bibliography explaining our research. Another requirement for this project was to create an artistic piece explaining the disaster. Overall this was an amazing experience and I really enjoyed doing this project. I hope to further my interest of indigenous tribes in college.
For my Unit 2 project I will be investigating the problems faced by indigenous people around the world. I will focus my studies on the struggles of these native societies. Indigenous people of the world have had many difficult setbacks as individual cultures, while having their land and natural resources taken away. While dealing with lifelong discrimination, they also have to be the pillars keeping their culture alive.
I will be focusing my studies on how the Lakota societies of Pine Ridge, in South Dakota, and Guarani-Kaiowá Indians, in Brazil, have had a recent rise in suicides due to the conditions, discrimination their people have suffered. They both feel as if they have no other place to take refuge.
(1) Red-Cloud, Henry. “Help Save Lakota Babies’ Lives.” Indiegogo. Indiegogo, n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2013. <https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-save-lakota-babies-lives>.
This website is to help raise money for Indigenous people of the world and was a vital part to my research. Within it I found specific information within an article about the Lakota tribe. It allows me to find statistics about the Lakota tribe, as well as information about the current events they are currently dealing with. The Lakota tribe is facing a rise in death rates, which as of 2013 are the highest in the USA. They go on to talk about the recent death of the Lakota children: “Our children are sacred; they’re our future. If we don’t save our children, then our culture won’t survive,” Donald Warne, of the Oglala Lakota tribe said. Due to the recent and mysterious deaths of these children the mothers then go into extreme depression. With this increase in depression many of the mothers think the only way they can be relieved of their problems is to commit suicide. I believe this is a very reliable source, I say this because a man who is a big part of the Lakota tribe community wrote this article. Speaking from personal experience it allows him to share the story of his people on a personal level without leaving out any information.
(2) New York Times/Wall Street Journal Statistics – Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota
In this news article it explains that Indian neighbors of the Lakota tribe decided to help build a National Healthy Start Program. HS, as they call it, is a program that provides all the resources the Lakota Tribes people would need mentally and physically. This program was aimed specifically to reduce the death of babies and help the mothers with their psychological problems on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I learned that the statistics on Indian health are disastrous and preventable. “[Nearly] every young mom who goes into Healthy Start tests off the scale for depression.” says a worker at the HS. I believe this source had quality information about the National Healthy Start Program . The New York Times is known to be a creditable source for all information.
(3) Giago, Tim. “High Suicide Rate on Indian Reservation Near Epidemic Proportions.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 01 June 2010. Web. 13 Feb.
This article in the Huffington post gave me a lot of information as to why not only the mothers but many of the Lakota tribe members suffer with depression. “Many of the Native Americans grew up ashamed of their culture and traditions. The shame and guilt impose generations of Native Americans became a part of a new culture; one that had many Indians searching for themselves and finding absolution in alcohol and drugs.” Iron Cloud; an important leader to the Lakota says. Iron Cloud then goes on to say, “If you think the government can fix everything, ask an Indian.” To help create a better a positive outlook the people of the Lakota tribe need the money the government offers. The government’s promises are never fully fulfilled so they intend to find a solution to the problem of the high suicide rate on the reservation by going back to the culture, traditions and the spirituality of their ancestors. This article was written by a very credited source as well; The Huffington Post. The writer of this article was assisted by Iron Cloud another important figure to the Lakota Tribe, giving me the assumption that all he information is reliable.
(4) The Movement for Tribal Peoples. “Guarani – Survival International.” Guarani – Survival International. Survival International, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2013. <https://www.survivalinternational.org/tribes/guarani>.
This website was the only website I used to research the Guarani-Kaowai. Survival international is a website to help people around the world understand the struggles and hardships that indigenous people around the world have to face. “For as long as they can remember, the Guarani have been searching – searching for a place revealed to them by their ancestors where people live free from pain and suffering, which they call ‘the land without evil’.” says a writer from Survival International. Due to the fact that the Guarani-Kaowai have been pushed off their land and now suffer displacement suicide rates have risen to an ultimate high. For fifty years Marcos Veron had been a leader of the Guarani-Kaowai tribe in Brazil; his people had been trying to recover a small piece of their ancestral land, after it was seized by a wealthy Brazilian and turned into a vast cattle ranch. Some have no land at all, and now live in plastic sheet tents on the roadsides of a highway. These ranchers have done everything in their power to make these people leave the land. A community of Brazilian Indians says “Their main source of water has been poisoned by one of the state’s most controversial ranches.” After being kicked out by the ranchers Marcos Veron led his people to back onto their land. The ranchers then took the Indians to court where the ranchers won the right to kick the Indians off and get all their land back. Marcos Veron said, “This here is my life, my soul. If you take me away from this land, you take my life.” During another attempt to return peacefully to their land, employees of the ranchers viciously beat Marcos. He died a few hours later. Veron’s killers have not been charged with his murder, but they were charged with lesser crimes related to the attack. The Guarani suffer from racism, discrimination and harassment from the Brazilian police. For example “It is estimated that there are over 200 Guarani in jail with little or no access to legal advice and interpreters, trapped in a legal system they do not understand. This has resulted in innocent people being condemned. Many are serving disproportionately harsh sentences for minor offenses ” Says local tribe member. The result of these people being arrested and discriminated against have led to high suicide rates, with a total of 517 dead since 1999. Overall I think this was the most useful source. This website is very credible and allowed me to find all the information I needed.
After researching both tribes I found a pattern of displacement and racism which then both led to depression and suicide. Knowing that indigenous people of their nation can’t live in peace without some sort of higher power destroying their tribes and culture I believe is an extreme crime against humanity. Usually people are so distracted with the beautiful land they live in they never think about the land and how it was taken away from those who originally settled there. By taking on this project I hope to spark an interest for others, allowing them to learn more about the topic and ask themselves how can I help? With the help from outsiders I believe these cultures do not have to become extinct. Better yet grow and strive to their fullest potential.