Youth in Indian country are often faced with tough decisions and sometimes the route they take is suicide. A topic that has reached epidemic levels in Indian country and an area that has many from former Sen. Byron Dorgan to current Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) working to reverse the statistics.
Murkowski recently announced that she will be leading a Senate Indian Affairs Committee Fielding Hearing on the suicide epidemic among Alaska Native youth on October 22 during the AFN Convention to be held in Anchorage, Alaska.
“I will be conducting a field hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee to really delve into more of the issues surrounding youth suicide, some of the connections that we know to be at play, whether it’s depression, whether it’s witnessing acts of violence within the home, whether it is lack of support,” Murkowski said. “This will be an opportunity for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee to hear, not only from the experts, but from those who have been impacted by suicide in their region.”
The hearing will begin at 1 p.m. in the Dena’ina Civic and Center and will feature Larry Echo Hawk, assistant secretary, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, D.C.; Richard McKeon, PH.D chief for the Suicide Prevention Branch in the Center for Mental Health Services, of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, D.C.; and Evon Peter, Director, Maniilaq Wellness Program, Kotzebue, Alaska.