Pine Ridge Reservation school receives $218K for youth suicide

Youth participate in a healing camp on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Photo by Cindy Giago

A school on the Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota received $218,000 in federal funds to address youth suicide.

The Pine Ridge School requested the money as part of the Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) at the Department of Education. The grant will aid in recovery from student suicides and suicide attempts.

“We are heartbroken about the tragic loss of life and are committed to working with the Pine Ridge community as it heals. These funds will help Pine Ridge School’s continued efforts to restore the learning environment in the face of these great tragedies," William Mendoza, the director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, said in a press release.

Since December, nine young people -- including a 12-year-old -- have committed suicide on the reservation. Two were high school students and two were middle-school age. There also have been at least 100 attempts

The Oglala Sioux Tribe declared an emergency in response to the problem. President John Yellow Bird Steele will testify about those efforts at a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing on youth suicide tomorrow.

Get the Story:
Federal government gives Pine Ridge School $218,000 grant to help prevent youth suicides (AP 6/21)
Native American School Mourning 4 Student Suicides Gets Emergency Federal Aid (The Huffington Post 6/19)

Committee Notice:
Oversight Hearing on "Demanding Results to End Native Youth Suicides" (June 24, 2015)

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