After ‘daunting’ suicide data, state of emergency declared for Pine Ridge

The flag of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
The flag of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.(OST)
Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 2:35 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Based on suicide data, President Julian R. Bear Runner, is declaring a state of emergency on Pine Ridge Reservation.

The state of emergency was declared based on the “daunting suicide and suicide threats data” from this year so far and in 2019. The president of the tribe accredits recent suicides to the pandemic, he said Monday.

Presidential Delclaration of a State of Emergency of Suicides on the Pine Ridge Reservation 08/24/2020.

Posted by Oglala Sioux Tribe - OST on Monday, August 24, 2020

Pine Ridge has ordered members to stay at home and have implemented travel restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic. Members were advised against attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally as well. The president says these restrictions have been trying for many.

There could have been as many as 14 reported suicides this year, according to the state of emergency declaration. As of Aug. 17, 2020, the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety said there had been five suicides since the first of the year.

Additionally, the Oglala Sioux Tribe Suicide Prevention Program said there had been nine suicides reported from local agencies this year of people who were 14 through 32-years old. Four of the suicides the prevention program reported occurred in the past two weeks.

President Bear Runner will work with Tribe officials to develop and implement strategies for combating the high rates of suicide on Pine Ridge.

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