Last year, a rash of suicides had pushed the Yurok tribe, California’s largest and one of its poorest, into an existential crisis.
Seven Yurok had killed themselves during a 15-month span.
The scars left behind are deep as family and friends look for meaning.
Frankie Myers sees the drug and alcohol problems as filling a void left by alienation from their old ways.
Celinda Gonzalez was appointed as a suicide prevention specialist for the part of the reservation hit by the rash of deaths. Her own son fatally shot himself in 2009.
Nick McCovey is a fish counter who loves nothing more than being on the river, fishing like his ancestors. He and Barbara have been unofficial parents to several wayward children on the reservation.
Winona Thornton lost her son to suicide, "I tell him 'sorry' everyday," she said. "He had so much to give."
Don Howerton lost his two sons to suicide. Neither he nor his other children have gone to counseling after their deaths. He thinks they died for a higher purpose.
Paula Dae Moon
Paula Dae Moon lost her sister to liver failure and her two nephews to suicide within nine months. She says there needs to be more jobs to break the cycle of addiction on the reservation.
Loren Twofeathers Offield
Loren Twofeathers Offield helps Myers coach stick and wrestling. Like Myers, he tries to keep his children busy with sports and cultural activities to keep them from falling prey to the hopelessness that plagues much of the reservation.
Barbara McCovey and her husband Nick used to hold a makeshift summer camp on the river when their children were young, hosting many kids whose parents were lost to their addictions. She and her husband still rely on the river for salmon and lampreys.