Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Native American youth ages 10 to 24. In fact, the suicide rate for children in American Indian tribes is more than two times the national average. Heather Peters, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris, sought to find a reason for these alarming stats and then work on a solution.
What Peters found was that Native American students often face pressures and anxieties that regularly go unresolved. A common reason for this is education inequality. Subjects such as American Indian history, art and music are rarely taught in schools in Minnesota or around the country, leading kids that hail from those communities to often feel left out of the prevailing narrative. Those feelings escalate as they grow older. Peters learned that teenagers who aren’t represented in classrooms often don’t feel like a full, participating member of their school communities.