Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


This thesis presents a study of Native American traditional elders perspective of suicide on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota. Native American elders are viewed as spiritual leaders who have wisdom and knowledge. They are the ones people in the tribe turn to for guidance, healing, and information. This study looked at suicide causes and prevention focusing on a Native American Indian population. The data was gathered using an open-ended questionnaire. The study shows the themes that emerged based on the traditional elders responses. The themes were based on the number of responses to the questionnaire sections. The primary themes for causes of suicide were Bi-Cultural Strain, Addictions, Lack of Religion, and Lack of Family Unity. The primary themes for suicidal prevention were Traditional Teachings, Religion, and Family Communication. The findings generate a better understanding of the suicidal issues that traditional elders feel are affecting younger generations and how to alleviate these causes. This information can be beneficial to all Indian and non-Indian people.