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Alaska Natives Cultural Group’s Healthcare Practices


Alaska Natives are composed of different indigenous sub-tribes. The major tribes include the “Yupik, the Haida, the Tlingit, and the Inupiat” (Roderick, 2010, p. 6). These indigenous people have a long history. They were colonized by different groups such as the Russians. The groups have also established a wide range of cultural practices within the past centuries.

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The 2010 Census indicated that the population of Alaska Natives was increasing very fast. The “country has over 2 million Native Alaskans” (Roderick, 2010, p. 27). The group was counted “together with Native Indians during the census” (Roderick, 2010, p. 27). The two ingenious groups gave a total of 5.2 million citizens (Roderick, 2010). This group has been increasing at a very fast rate. The majority of these people are found in Alaska.

Health Care Practices

These people have also been using different traditional medicines. Various plant materials are collected and dried for medical purposes. Traditional healers are also common. The death of many herbalists continues to encourage these people to develop new treatment methods. The people also “use different plants for medicinal purposes” (Williams, Kirk, & Starn, 2009, p. 16). These native tribes have also combined modern and traditional health practices in order to get the best health outcomes (Roderick, 2010). Members of this culture are encouraged to consume various plants as a way of preventing various diseases.

Risk Behaviors

Some traditional practices expose these individuals to various health problems. Some of their traditional medicines are inappropriate and unhealthy. Many people engage in various traditional piracies in order to get healed. This practice affects the health outcomes of many Alaska Natives (Williams et al., 2009). Substance use is also common among Native Alaskan youths. These misbehaviors expose them to different lifestyle diseases.

Genetic Susceptibility to Chronic Conditions

Many native groups in America are believed to have weak immunity for diseases such as tuberculosis, diabetes, pneumonia, and different cancers (Williams et al., 2009). Cardiovascular diseases are known to affect members of this native group. Different researchers have been focusing on the causal factors associated with these diseases (Williams et al., 2009).


Members of this cultural group have known how to utilize different food materials. The people used to consume different plant materials and meat. They also obtained fish firm people living near the coastline. They have been consuming traditional foods such as wild fruits and vegetables. The people have also been embracing new agricultural practices thus supplementing their diets. Many Alaska Natives are also consuming genetically-modified foods (GMOs). They also “consume marine animals and mammals” (Williams et al., 2009, p. 73). Hunting, gathering, and fishing are common practices among these native tribes (Williams et al., 2009).


This cultural group has several native sub-tribes. Most of these sub-tribes have been embracing different religious practices. The individuals engaged in traditional dances and religious rituals. They also have festivals to praise and honor their gods. The people have also been embracing modern religious practices such as Christianity (Williams et al., 2009). Many Native Alaskans have also been promoting various rituals for healing purposes.

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Death Rituals

This group uses colorful ceremonies to bury the deceased. Many Native Alaskans also say prayers whenever burying the dead. The people use songs during such ceremonies. Prayers are used to support the needs of the dead. However, such death rituals have been changing significantly. For instance, the people “used various rituals in order to soothe the souls of the deceased” (Williams et al., 2009, p. 52). They wanted such individuals to live comfortably after death. Some groups also offer food and drinks to the deceased.

Reference List

Roderick, L. (2010). Alaska Native Culture and Issues: Responses to Frequently Asked Questions. Fairbanks, AK: University of Alaska Press.

Williams, M., Kirk, R., & Starn, O. (2009). The Alaska Native Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Books.

Zia, H. (2014). Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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