Suicide prevention summit hears from elder

by Sophie Evan on August 22, 2013

The Alaska Tribal Leaders Summit started its first day of meetings this morning. Tribal leaders from Alaska’s 226 Federally recognized tribes attended the summit entitled, “Securing a Future for Our Children”, and the first day is dedicated to “Finding Solutions for Suicide Impacts.”

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The 13th session of the Tribal Leaders Summit is being held at the Hilton Hotel, here in Anchorage. There are familiar faces in attendance from the Y-K region, C0-chair Mike Williams called the summit to order for a full day of talking about solutions to the suicide epidemic that is plaguing Alaska Native People.

Nunapitchuk Elder and Chief Chuck Chaliak, called the summit to order entirely in Yup’ik, Mike Williams translated.

Chief Chaliak’s introductory remarks, in Yup’ik, reminded everyone that we are standing today because of our elders and ancestors, and that the next generation is up and coming. Chaliak stressed that the next generation needs a lot of love, as they are heading into the future, as future leaders. This generation is learning so much of what native elders don’t know anything about.

Chief Chaliak wanted to remind everyone, that their minds and thinking have to be united, that there are many issues that a village has to work together to solve, and that every effort has to be brought forward with the help of God. Each village has to be united in tackling problems said Chaliak.

The President of the Eklutna Tribe, Lee Stephan, then welcomed everyone to Eklutna land, and reminded everyone that the rest of the day would be a day of important and difficult discussions on suicide.

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