Children First: Pictures to prevent suicide - KOTA Territory News

Children First: Pictures to prevent suicide

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In 1993 a program known as the Young Lakota Photographers gave Lakota youth an opportunity,unity to express themselves through the artistic form of photography.

It gave children an outlet to be creative and an opportunity to find talents they didn't know they had.

Today, 20 years later, their work is on display at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City. The pictures tell the stories of their lives on one of the poorest communities in the Nation, The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The program only lasted one year but other organizations like the Lakota Voices Project strive to give youth that same artistic opportunity while sending a message to help fight suicide.

The teenage suicide rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation is 150 percent higher than the national average. Children as young as 6 have reportedly attempted to take their own lives.

To help fight the epidemic, the Lakota Voices Project began when a group of Oglala Lakota College business students, with the help from the American Advertising Federation, launched a traditional advertising and social media campaign to fight the epidemic of youth suicide on the reservation by asking one question: What does hope look like to you?

It gives Lakota children a way of expressing themselves, by passing out hundreds of disposable cameras.

The Lakota Voices Project also strives to let students express themselves through other art forms such as dance, graffiti, and theatre.

The pictures from the Young Lakota Photographers program are on display through February 1st.

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