Northern Michigan residents give generously during the Dec. 13, 2008 Cowboys & Angels free benefit concert to help fight American Indian domestic violence, teen suicide
“Cowboys and Angels”: Third annual free northern Michigan benefit concert a success in effort to battle domestic violence and teen suicides on one of the the poorest American Indian reservations in the U.S.
(Munising, Michigan) – Northern Michigan residents helped fight American Indian teen suicide and family violence during December 13 third annual free benefit concert in northern Michigan.
The non-profit Turtle Island Project (TIP) in Munising organized the third annual “Cowboys and Angels” concert that was held to benefit the White Buffalo Calf Woman Society (WBCWS) in Mission, South Dakota the first Native American domestic violence shelter in the world.
The WBCWS battles domestic violence, sexual assault and an alarming increase in teen suicides on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation, the home of the Sicangu Lakota people.
Poverty, depression, a lack of jobs, drugs, alcohol and other social problems are among the reasons behind Rosebud suicides and family violence.
Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard performed original songs and seasonal music during the concert on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008 from 7 – 9 p.m. at the Falling Rock Cafe and Bookstore at 104 East Munising Ave. in downtown Munising
The WBCWS was founded 30 years ago by a group of courageous Native American women including current executive director Tillie Black Bear.
“The White Buffalo Calf Woman’s Society and its domestic violence shelter are vital to address social issues like teen suicide and domestic violence on the Rosebud reservation,” said Dr. Hubbard, pastor of the Eden on the Bay Lutheran Church in Munising, MI. “Women and children are treated with dignity.”
“The Rosebud Reservation has been described as a Third World Country in America’s heartland,” Hubbard said. “Social problems on the Rosebud can sometimes seem overwhelming but the answer starts with a person donating money or volunteering their time and praying for the people.
The TIP has organized numerous free benefit concerts in the U.P. and SD for the WBCWS including two by Iron County-based folk groups, White Water and Duo Borealis.
For more information call 906-202-0590 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
White Buffalo Calf Woman Society, Inc.
P.O. Box 227
Call Tillie Black Bear, co-founder & director of the WBCWS:
Turtle Island Project
Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard, Director/Co-founder
137 East Onota Street
Photo stills of the Rosebud Reservation by KOTA TV Sioux Falls, SD
Photos in “Sorrow on the Rosebud” graphic by photographer Lara Neel, Argus-Herald Leader newspaper
Kudos to reporter Steve Young, photographer Lara Neel & Argus Leader staff/management.
Links to stories and video by Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, SD on the tragic suicide epidemic involving Lakota youth and young adults
Photos in above graphic:
Marie Wilcox, (upper right) who lost her son, Stoney Larvie, to suicide more than two years ago, says his spirit visited her on the night he died. “He put his arms around me and said, ‘Don’t do that. Don’t blame anyone.’ ” Wilcox says that not understanding why her son chose suicide is the most difficult thing to deal with. (Photo by Lara Neel / Argus Leader)
Angel Wilson (lower right) visits her son’s grave on her property near Mission in south-central South Dakota on a recent summer day. Clay Wilson committed suicide at age 19 in January 2007, several months after two of his friends killed themselves. (Lara Neel / Argus Leader)
Lino Spotted Elk (lower left) visits the grave of his son, Lino “JJ” Spotted Elk Jr. The younger Spotted Elk committed suicide while in jail on a warrant for a speeding ticket. “I try to figure out what could I have done,” the elder Spotted Elk says. “You can beat yourself to death with those kinds of questions.” (Lara Neel / Argus Leader)
Lino Spotted Elk Sr. (upper left) sits in a St. Francis cemetery, reflecting on his son’s life. Spotted Elk said images and attitudes from MTV videos of rappers and gangsta music are powerful influences on reservation young people. (Lara Neel / Argus Leader)
Tillie Black Bear, (center photos) the executive director of the White Buffalo Calf Woman’s Society, tells a northern Michigan audience about the teen suicide crisis facing her reservation back home in South Dakota. Black Bear was a keynote speaker on September 23, 2008 at the Northern Michigan University 2008 United Conference in Marquette, MI
(Tillie Black Bear photos by Greg Peterson)
The youth suicide problem on and around the Lakota Rosebud Reservation is finally get the recognition it deserves.
Kudos to reporter Steve Young, photographer Lara Neel and any other members of the Argus Leader staff and management involved with this important story.
Lakota community leader Tillie Black Bear and others have worked tirelessly to bring this issue to the attention of many.
Black Bear and a few other brave native women founded the White Buffalo Calf Woman’s Society 31 years ago this October – the first domestic violence shelter on an Native American reservation.
The WBCWS has done its best to provide counselors and alternatives – and held a suicide summit earlier this summer.
The non-profit Turtle Island Project in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Munising) and others have been trying to get South Dakota media to pay attention for over a year.
On Sept. 21, 2008, the Argus Leader newspaper did a thought-provoking, great but sad series of articles (and related videos) on the problem. Some 27 Rosebud members have killed themselves and over 400 youths have attempted suicide in the past few years.
Except for some American Indian media, only a handful of the white news media (including KOTA-TV, South Dakota Public Broadcasting and the Lutheran Magazine) have done much coverage of the issue that caused Rosebud Leaders to declare a state of emergency in the spring of 2007.
Numerous American Indian news outlets and websites helped the Turtle Island Project spread the word last fall. (That media includes Indian Country Today, Native Times, Native America Calling, News from Indian Country, Yahoo Indigenous Peoples Forum, Red Nation Society, Pow Wow TV, Native Radio, Mostly Water, and others we don’t mean to leave out).
Thanks also to the Custer Lutheran Fellowship Church in Custer, SD.
Here are links to videos/Argus Leader newspaper stories:
Why are young Lakota killing themselves?
South Dakota reservation’s suicide rate said to be among highest in world
Despite stable home, teen chose death
Mother struggles to understand reasons behind son’s tragic act
Links to 7 videos by Argus Leader newspaper in Sioux Falls, SD on Rosebud Suicides:
White Buffalo Calf Woman Society, Inc.
PO Box 227
To see KOTA-TV news story, videos and other info on Turtle Island Project and its founders Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard and Rev. Dr. George Cairns:
Pre-concert news coverage:
Mining Journal news story promoting 2008 TIP Coiwboys & Angels concert
Nancy & Jeff Dwyer, owners