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Interesting article about suicide rates in Indigenous culture in Greenland

In my local paper there was a very interesting article about Greenland becoming the new suicide capital of the world. Here is the article:

Here is a quote from that article:

Jack Hicks, a Canadian researcher, says rampant suicide among indigenous Arctic peoples started in Alaska. "It's not the people who were coerced into the communities as adults who began to exhibit elevated rates of suicidal behavior -- it was their children, the first generation to grow up in the towns.

And I believe it is an important one to begin to understand the devastating effects that Western culture and being forced to live by it has on Indigenous populations, in Alaskan and other Arctic peoples. What do you do when confronted with the bare facts that the Western world does not care about you as a culture and forces you to live by it's (lack of a) value system? What do you do when you realize that for hundreds of years the American indigenous peoples have been fighting this and yet nothing has changed for them due to Westerners unwillingness to recognize the truth about themselves and their effects on other cultures? Notice the word they used " coerced " and understand it's full meaning. 'To coerce' is to force someone against their will and is a bad thing in case that is unclear to you. But Westerners will not see themselves in a bad light if they can help it and will instead look for excuses to avoid accepting responsibility for their actions and it's consequences.

I know it seems I am forever going on and on about "Westerners" but someone must, however unpopular it makes them... When will things change? There is so much talk of "change" and how things are different now but one must ask "Different for who?!" when seeing how things have not improved for the indigenous cultures. I once tried to give an example to a western friend of mine to make it clear as to why there is so much resistance to becoming 'westernized' by the indigenous population but it sort of freaked her out big time so I do hesitate to use it here... I wanted to give an example of extreme opposites so it was clear at a glance without having to think about it at all as to why there is resistance...

For the indigenous "spirit" I asked her to picture Arwen from Lord of the Rings when she is riding up on her horse after Frodo is stabbed by the Mordor blade and she is all glowing and beautiful. I hoped to show it is a natural beauty that is just there, it just "is"... and as a opposite image to that I asked her to picture a scene from an older movie called "Arachnophobia" when the photographer from the beginning of the movie dies and is shipped home. When the mortuary guy opens the coffin and sees the "desiccated corpse" from the huge spider that hitched a ride in it and says something like 'their preservation methods are different then ours." Such opposite images that you can tell at a glance that the substance of each culture is different without having to stop and think much about it. Not that I believe the differences are that extreme, of course, but to show why there is resistance to becoming 'Westernized'... I haven't thought of a less drastic image for the differences yet but hopefully that does help to show why the indigenous do not want to become 'western'...

But to continue with those images, for now, would not suicide while living under that first image seem like a better alternative to becoming that other image? What we need to do is reach out to our indigenous populations with empathy and understanding of this difference in attitudes and beliefs.

To stop the coercion of a peoples is a must, but how to convince westerners that this is so?

I mean, honestly, it has been going on for several hundreds of years in America already without any real significant progress being made. I do believe that the time is coming when this will change, in a real and meaningful way. We must convince our indigenous youths that this is so and our spirit and pride is as strong as ever and just a little more patience is needed...

I hope you find the article and underlying themes as fascinating as I do!

and as a p.s.) my daughter said I sound a bit impatient and like "Why can't you get it through your thick skull.." and I do not mean to at all! But like I told my western friend, it is such a 'head banging against the wall feeling' for me that I do get a bit frustrated at what I see as a lack of real and meaningful changes happening... So sorry if I come across a bit too strongly but this is something I do feel passionate about and it shows...


Northern America
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