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In communities across the United States, death by suicide is the second leading cause of death among Indigenous youth age 8 to 24. In recognition of the unique challenges young Indigenous people face, the New Mexico Indigenous Youth Council has created the Kinship Pledge.

By taking the Pledge, you are acknowledging that historical mistreatment and oppression, intergenerational trauma, socioeconomic disparities, substance abuse and other complex issues and stigmas contribute to a crisis among Indigenous youth. But you can do something to help.

We ask that you take the Kinship Pledge:

  1. I pledge to honor and respect the diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Indigenous communities in New Mexico.
  2. pledge to actively listen to the voices of Indigenous youth, recognizing their lived experiences and the impact of historical trauma on their mental health. 
  3. pledge to break the stigma surrounding mental health in Indigenous communities and foster open conversations to promote understanding and empathy.
  4. pledge to uplift and amplify the voices of Indigenous leaders, organizations, and advocates working towards suicide prevention.
  5. pledge to be a supportive ally in times of crisis and encourage others to do the same.
  6. pledge to work towards creating and maintaining safe spaces that foster inclusivity, understanding, and emotional support for Indigenous youth. 
  7. pledge to actively support initiatives that reconnect Indigenous youth with their cultural roots, as a means of promoting identity, resilience, and a sense of belonging.
  8. pledge to call 988 when I am experiencing suicidal ideation, and to encourage every person in crisis to call 988.
  9. pledge to encourage and honor when people reach out in times of need.

I understand that supporting Indigenous youth suicide prevention is an ongoing commitment. I will continue to educate myself, raise awareness, and take action to contribute to the well-being of Indigenous communities, fostering a future where every young person feels valued, supported, and hopeful.

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About IYC

The Indigenous Youth Council (IYC) was established in February 2021 after two listening sessions conducted by the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department (IAD) with tribal youth statewide. Discussed topics included the aspiration for increased access to higher education resources and addressing behavioral and mental health needs within tribal communities. Participants also expressed the need for stronger intertribal connections among the Nations, Tribes, and Pueblos in the state.

Representatives from the 23 Nations, Tribes, and Pueblos were chosen by the IAD to actively engage with the department, guiding efforts related to the issues raised during the listening sessions. The IAD provides this platform for coming together to share collective experiences, collaborate on joint initiatives, and foster community building.

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