Suicide is not a new phenomenon among American Indians and Alaska Natives. The tradition of suicide among tribes of various culture areas, its motives, and methods are explored in this paper. Some traditions contrast with the modern situation, such as the historically higher rate of suicide among Indian women than men. Many of the tribes believed a person who committed suicide could not enter the afterworld, but in certain situations suicide was acknowledged as being the right thing to do. Despite these occasional sanctions, suicide appears to have been infrequent among pre-contact tribes.