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Violent Deaths among Native Americans in Oklahoma

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  • From 2004-2008, there were 4,560 violent deaths among Oklahoma residents; of those, 457 (10%) were Native Americans.
  • Native American males were nearly 3 times more likely to be victims of violent deaths than Native American females.
  • Violent death rates among Native Americans were highest among persons 25-44 years of age.
  • Almost half of all violent deaths among Native Americans were suicide, 23% were homicide, and 26% were of undetermined manner.
  • The rates of homicide and undetermined manner of death were higher among Native Americans compared to non-Native Americans.
  • Native Americans 25-44 years of age were nearly twice as likely to be victims of homicides as non-Native Americans.
  • The rate of undetermined manner of death among Native American children aged 0-4 was more than twice the rate among non-Native Americans.
  • The overall suicide rate among Native Americans was slightly less than non-Native Americans; however, the suicide rate among Native Americans 10-24 years of age was 78% higher than non-Native Americans.
  • Firearms were the most common weapon used to kill in both suicides and homicides for both Native Americans and non-Native Americans.

Circumstances:

  • Arguments and intimate partner violence were the leading circumstances of homicide.
  • Current depressed mood, intimate partner problems, and mental health problems were the leading circumstances of suicide.

Strategies to prevent self-inflicted violence:

  • Learn the suicide warning signs. If you know a person at risk for suicide, refer them to help. 
    OK Suicide Helpline 1-800-273-TALK.
  • Health care professionals should be encouraged to screen patients for mental health illnesses (including substance abuse), and provide adequate treatment for these illnesses.
  • Restrict access to lethal means, such as firearms and drugs, from persons who have expressed intent to commit suicide.
  • Prescription drug use by persons expressing intent to commit suicide should be closely monitored by the doctor, pharmacist, and family members.

Strategies to prevent interpersonal violence include:

  • Programs that teach young people healthy relationship skills, such as Respect WORKS (a four-step approach to preventing dating violence) and Second Step (skills for social and academic success).
  • Positive youth development programs, such as The Boys and Girls Clubs, STRYVE (Striving To Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere), and mentoring programs.
  • Comprehensive school-based programs to address bullying.
  • Nurse home visitation programs to educate new mothers on child safety and child development.
  • Providing adequate domestic and family violence services to the community.

For more information go to:

Injury Prevention Service, OSDH, 1000 NE 10th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73117
Revised October 2011

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