An editorial posted on Friday, December 17 by the Bismarck ND Tribune, addressed issues of cutting and branding among young people and that self abuse of this kind has become a part of life for teens on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
But the McLaughlin School Board and a group of students and advisers are facing the issue head on. The school board agreed to participate in an Indian Health Services GoodHealth TV project and students and advisors then created two public health videos that focus on cutting and branding.
The students involved in the project knew the subject matter too well. Many of them had personal experiences with self abuse.
That’s one of the lessons we have learned. In addressing problems with young people, involve them in the solutions and you’ll get better results. The same goes for any group that is the subject of “help.”
Cutting and branding are symptoms of problems on reservations, like many of the other difficult social and health-related issues that can be found in Indian Country. They reflect the hopelessness and despair some reservation residents endure.
Until those problems are resolved, groups like the McLaughlin School Board and those involved in the GoodHealth TV project do the best they can to treat the symptoms.