The healing journey

by Sophie Evan on December 4, 2012

A three-day conference started today at the Longhouse Hotel. Organizers say their goal is to take control of the root causes of unhealthy social, economic and health status of the local Yup’ik and Athabaskan people. The Traditional Healing Conference is sponsored by the behavioral health department of YKHC.

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The local indigenous Yup’ik and Athabaskan people have long suffered the traumatizing effects of first contact with the Western World. Y-K-H-‘s Family Spirit Program Coordinator, Sophie Jenkins is one of the organizers. Jenkins describes some of the historically traumatizing events that the conference will be addressing.

Y-1 engish cut “multi-generational events in our Yup’ik history, have resulted in many losses, for example; language, our culture, our spirituality, and traditional belief systems, and also loss of family and community members through death and diseases, additional loses experienced are children sent to boarding schools, unhealthy social and living skills, are experienced because of those experiences.” :30

Y-2 Yup’ik cut 1:53
Calricaaramek……………………..ukunun wani nicugniyartulrianun.”

The longhouse conference area was organized into five long rows filled with people from all over the region and State. There were about 80 people in attendance; YKHC’s behavioral health aids, national guardsman and their wives, the Calista Elders Council, and elders from all over the region. The morning started with an overview of the three-day conference, which organizer, Rose Domnick warned would get emotional when pinpointing the root causes of historical trauma.

The second day is geared toward understanding the trauma and hurt. Which organizers say gives meaning and significance to what indigenous people have lived through and is the beginning of the healing journey.

The last day asks, “where will we go from here?” and “How do we integrate traditional healing into western structured, linear systems?

Sophie Evan KYUK news.

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