Vermont suicide rate highest among Native Americans - State House Headliners

Vermont Native Americans commit suicide at a higher rate than any other ethnic group (including whites) in Vermont. Community leaders have obtained a grant to study the problem and solutions. Grand Isle County is particularly plagued by Native American suicide.

"A US government study identifies key suicide risk factors for Native Americans as depression, family trauma, alcohol, drug use, and trauma through cultural oppression. Of the latter, Vermont Abenakis in particular were victimized by the “progressive” Eugenics movement prevalent between 1920 and 1950. As reported in “Breeding Better Vermonters,” by Nancy Gallagher, Abenakis seeking to live as much as possible in traditional, migrational ways were mistaken by leading eugenist Henry F. Perkins for traveling gypsies, who among white Vermonters were believed to be thieves, and worse. Legislation was passed declaring children of said “rovers” to be wards of the state. Many were then seized by state officials and sent to state reformatories, where they suffered sterilization - sometimes without their knowledge.”


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