After much effort, the Native Cry Outreach Alliance has succeeded in obtaining Congressional support for a bill to augment suicide prevention efforts in Indian country.
Arizona Democratic Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva has committed to reintroducing the Native American Suicide Prevention Act to the 113th Congress. The Act was first introduced before Congress last April by Rep. Joe Baca (D-California), but died out from a lack of support.
“We plan to introduce the bill the week of February 25 as a package with other Native American-themed bills,” Adam Sarvana, communications director for U. S. Rep. Grijalva, wrote to Indian Country Today Media Network via email.
Sarvana expects the House Rules Committee to assign the bill to the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs on the House Natural Resources Committee. Sen. Don Young (R-Alaska), who serves as chairman of the subcommittee, will ultimately determine when or whether to give it a hearing, Sarvana said.
This bill will amend section 520E of the Public Health Services Act to require that any state or state sponsored organization make a reasonable effort to consult with Native American Indian Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Urban Indian organizations in the crafting of and implementation of their suicide intervention and prevention strategies.
To support this legislation, Native Cry Outreach Alliance urges organizations and individuals to send an email stating they agree to endorse the bill to Chris Kaumo, legislative director for Rep. Grijalva: Chris.Kaumo@mail.house.gov.
Native Cry Outreach Alliance, a mobile organization that travels to Native communities, seeks to prevent American Indian and Alaska Native youth from making life-ending decisions by treating depression. For months, the organization has advocated for Indian country to sign its petition on Change.org urging Congress to pass the Native American Suicide Prevention Act. Read: Native Cry Outreach Alliance Continues Its Push for 5,000 Signatures for Suicide Prevention.
View Native Cry’s gripping public service announcement (PSA) aimed at Natives who are considering taking their own lives.