Insights from Cowichan: A Hybrid Approach to Understanding Suicide in One First Nations' Collective

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Abstract

Explanations for suicide are theorized primarily in terms of the individual, seldom considering the interdependent orientation of Indigenous communities. Drawing on the interpersonal theory of suicide and settler colonial theory, this study addresses Indigenous suicide on two levels: the individual and the collective. Twenty-one interviews were conducted with members of the Cowichan Tribes to understand reasons for suicide in one community. Qualitative analysis identified explanatory constructs proposed by the interpersonal theory as well as negative conditions stemming from colonialism, as proposed by settler colonial theory. These results argue that Indigenous suicidal behavior is best understood from an interdependent standpoint.

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