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Cultural Aspects of Healthcare from an Alaska Native Perspective

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Healthcare encounters may often be experienced by patients as cultural experiences as much as they are medicinal, creating different expectations and perceptions for each individual seeking care. This project sought

Healthcare encounters may often be experienced by patients as cultural experiences as much as they are medicinal, creating different expectations and perceptions for each individual seeking care. This project sought to understand the experiences that Alaska Natives have with healthcare and how those experiences influenced their care. It provided a small window into the cultural relevance to healthcare for Alaska Natives by conducting interviews with participants from Sitka, Alaska. Interviews addressed three topics (or themes): linguistic and communication barriers, culturally specific care associated with individual tribes and patient-provider relationships. Although these topics, within the context of healthcare, have been well studied under the Native American - Alaska Native demographic umbrella, few projects target Alaska Natives specifically. This project was developed to specifically spotlight Alaska Natives to gain an understanding of their healthcare experiences.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05

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Quliaqtuavut tuugaatigun (Our stories in ivory): reconnecting Arctic narratives with engraved drill bows

Description

This dissertation explores complex representations of spiritual, social and cultural ways of knowing embedded within engraved ivory drill bows from the Bering Strait. During the nineteenth century, multi-faceted ivory drill

This dissertation explores complex representations of spiritual, social and cultural ways of knowing embedded within engraved ivory drill bows from the Bering Strait. During the nineteenth century, multi-faceted ivory drill bows formed an ideal surface on which to recount life events and indigenous epistemologies reflective of distinct environmental and socio-cultural relationships. Carvers added motifs over time and the presence of multiple hands suggests a passing down of these objects as a form of familial history and cultural patrimony. Explorers, traders and field collectors to the Bering Strait eagerly acquired engraved drill bows as aesthetic manifestations of Arctic mores but recorded few details about the carvings resulting in a disconnect between the objects and their multi-layered stories. However, continued practices of ivory carving and storytelling within Bering Strait communities holds potential for engraved drill bows to animate oral histories and foster discourse between researchers and communities. Thus, this collaborative project integrates stylistic analyses and ethno-historical accounts on drill bows with knowledge shared by Alaska Native community members and is based on the understanding that oral narratives can bring life and meaning to objects within museum collections.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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The Changing Tides of Bristol Bay: Salmon, Sovereignty, and Bristol Bay Natives

Description

Located in Southwest Alaska on the Bering Sea, Bristol Bay covers the area of land and water that lies north of the Alaska Peninsula. The Bristol Bay region consists of

Located in Southwest Alaska on the Bering Sea, Bristol Bay covers the area of land and water that lies north of the Alaska Peninsula. The Bristol Bay region consists of more than 40 million acres and is home to approximately 7,400 people of mostly Alaska Native descent. Many Natives still maintain a subsistence lifestyle. The region’s Indigenous inhabitants include Aleuts, Eskimos, and Indians. Bristol Bay’s Indigenous cultures developed around the abundant salmon runs. The Bristol Bay watershed, with its extensive lake and river systems, provides the ideal breeding grounds for all five species of Pacific salmon. As a keystone species, salmon directly or indirectly impact many species in the ecosystem. This dissertation focuses on the ecology and environment, culture, and economy in the Bristol Bay salmon fishery from its beginnings in 1884 until the present. The arrival of Euro-Americans altered the human/salmon relationship as Alaska Natives entered the commercial salmon fishery. The commercial fishery largely marginalized Alaska Natives and they struggle to remain relevant in the fishery. Participation in the subsistence fishery remains strong and allows Bristol Bay Natives to continue their cultural traditions. On a global scale, the sustainable Bristol Bay’s salmon harvest provides over half of the world’s wild sockeye salmon. Salmon cultures once existed throughout the Atlantic and Pacific. With the decline of salmon, few viable salmon cultures remain today. I argue that because of the ecological, cultural, and economic factors, salmon in Bristol Bay deserve protection from competing resource development and other factors that threaten the valuable fishery. The unique ecology of Bristol Bay needs clean water to continue its bountiful production. As a member of the Bristol Bay community, I include my own experiences in the salmon fishery, incorporating “writing from home” as one of my primary methodologies. I also include ethnohistory and oral history methodologies. I conducted interviews with elders in the Bristol Bay community to incorporate Indigenous experiences as Natives faced changes brought on by the commercial salmon fishery.

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Date Created
  • 2019