Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Dr. Bilinida Straight

Second Advisor

Dr. Sarah Hill

Third Advisor

Dr. Jose Brandao

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Michael Kral

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Restricted to Campus until

10-15-2017

Abstract

Suicide is a leading cause of death amongst indigenous North American youth. The majority of studies on indigenous youth suicide focus on quantitative data collection and analysis. Qualitative and collaborative methods provide the cultural and historical contexts necessary for a critical understanding of youth suicide in indigenous communities. Through classic ethnographic methods (structured interviews, participant observation) and descriptive analysis, this work highlights the value of qualitative data. Medical anthropology informs an ethnomedical approach toward youth suicide, death, life, health and related concepts. Analyzing the semantics of prevention and intervention aids a critical-interpretive approach to current research and prevention-intervention frameworks and activities. Through creative ethnographic writing (poetry, creative non-fiction-short stories) and didactic language, dissemination becomes an instrument of community participation in the analytical process. Evidence indicates symbolic associations and violence, structural violence, and maladaptive role of conflicted identity and intergenerational traumatic memory. Fully grasping indigenous youth suicide requires expanding qualitative and mixed methods research.

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