Indigenous People have endured a history of colonialism, forced assimilation and marginalization that has resulted in multi-generational trauma. This trauma has had a staggering effect on our youth: Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Indigenous youth between the ages of 15 and 24, two and a half times higher than the national average. The graduation rate hovers below 60% (considerably lower on many reservations) compared to the national average of over 80%. Indigenous youth have the highest rate of alcohol and substance abuse amongst all other ethnic groups, and are five times more likely to end up in the criminal justice system, where they receive disproportionately harsher sentences. Moreover, Indigenous youth are often categorized in data and reports as “statistically insignificant” or “other,” erasing their very existence.
The Indigenous Institute is committed to stopping this downward spiral of hopelessness in our youth, and replacing it with hope, belief and the promise of a better tomorrow. We are in the process of launching our Future Warriors Initiatives, which encompass the concepts of our evidence based education. These initiatives will be in youth education, sporting and health and wellness programs, all blended purposefully with traditional culture, traditions, beliefs and language.
We must all join together and help our youth realize their inner greatness, take pride in their culture, traditions and language, and achieve their Creator-given potential.