HISTORY OF THE SHADOW'S DEFEAT
The Shadow's Defeat was inspired by the Lakota Vision Project (International Gospel Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma), and was written in response to the overwhelming need of those who are struggling with darkness in their lives.
Background: The suicide risk factors for Native youth are well known and widely reported. In their homes and communities, many Native youngsters face extreme poverty, hunger, alcoholism, substance abuse and family violence. Diabetes rates are high, and untreated mental illnesses such as as depression are common, Unemployment tops 80 percent on some reservations, so there are few jobs - even part-time or after-school ones. Bullying and peer pressure pile on more trauma during the vulnerable teen years. Native American tribes are doing all that they can can to educate and help people. Limited resources and economical conditions of tribal members has become the breeding ground for hopelessness and despair.
In June of 2015, The Lakota Vision Project team attended a College Graduation ceremony of one of the young women they had helped. The President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Mr. Steele, talked about suicide and the terrible toil it was taking on the people. His words were similar to the previous words that the team had heard.
A spirit being, in the form of a Dark Shadow visits the children and youth at night telling them that they are worthless, there is no hope and instructs how to hang themselves. Many times the spirit being will show the child/youth how to make a hanging noose and if they are not successful the first time, he will return and instruct him/her how to use a wire for a noose.
Mr. Steele said that a spirit had announced that it wanted 16 children and youth, and so far it had taken the lives of 10 children and wanted 6 more. The President said, "We have no answer."
SUICIDE IS NOT A PRODUCT OF WANTING TO DIE; RATHER IT'S A PERCEPTION OF NOT BEING ABLE TO LIVE.
Increased Youth Suicide
Rev. Patty Ehman, the Project leader, knew that there is an answer and His name is Jesus. Compelled to action, she and the team decided to hold one-day Vacation Bible School event during the summer throughout the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. I was asked to tell a story to the children specifically addressing suicide.
In all three areas, out of 50 children, 16 had seen the Dark Shadow (32%). The short story that I told was received so well that I was asked to write a book. In a few short weeks, an inspired idea became a tool that is being used to help people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts.
It is important to remember that the enemy (Satan) does not limit hopeless and despair to Native Americans. His desire is to kill and to destroy as many lives a possible. However. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics paints a grim pictures for Native American youth, They report that the adolescent suicide rate is four times higher than the national average [U.S.], and the female suicide rate for American Indian youths is eleven times higher.
SUICIDE IS PREVENTABLE
Most experts agree that suicide is preventable. I know that in my case it was. Like most survivors of attempted suicide, I didn't really want to die. I just wanted the mental pain and anxiety to stop.
Indian children are more likely to be abused, see their mothers being abused and live in a household where someone is controlled by drugs or alcohol. They have the highest rates of emotional and physical neglect and are more likely to be exposed to trauma.
“The unfortunate and often forgotten reality is that there is an epidemic of violence and harm directed toward this very vulnerable population,” Dolores Subia BigFoot, director of the Indian Country Trauma Center at the University of Oklahoma, testified a before the Senate Committee of Indian Affairs during hearings on the Indian Youth Suicide Prevention Act of 2009.