Alaska Natives’ Cultural Healthcare Practices

Alaska Natives’ Cultural Healthcare Practices


Alaska natives are the natural inhabitants or indigenous people of Alaska. The people are associated with various cultures that include but are not limited to Aleut, Eyak, Tingit, Haida, and Yupik (Roderick, 2010). The cultures define their way of life, beliefs, religious practices, standards of living, and social habits. The natives are organized in designated entities that enable effective monitoring of their claims relating to land and finance matters. Socially, the Alaska people have been interacting effectively with their neighbors and other citizens in the US.


Demographically, the population of Alaska people has been on the increase over the years. The census report reveals that the population of the Alaska people has recorded a steady increase from 663,661 people in the year 2005 to 710,231 individuals in the year 2010 and 731,449 people in the year 2012 (Roderick, 2010). Subsequently, Alaska is populated by Hispanics that constitute about 5.5% of the people, and the Non-Hispanic group of individuals who make up 94.5%. The Non-Hispanic include Whites, Blacks, Asians, American Indians, Pacific Islanders and others who make up 66.7%, 3.6%, 5.4%, 14.8%, 1.0% and 1.7% respectively. The area is located in fertile agricultural land that spurns around 64.37 kilometers east of Anchorage. The natives in the 47th most populous state use the larger percentage of the expansive and productive land for tobacco farming.

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Health Care Practices

Healthcare is a fundamental aspect that the Alaska people value given that it influences productivity in diverse facets of operation. Currently, the Alaska people have changed to modern medicine after using the traditional medication for thousands of years (Williams, 2009). The change has been occasioned by the rapidly diminishing nature of the plants where the medicines that are still being used as poultices or teas are harvested. Most health institutions have resorted to the usage of modern medicine citing their reliance on the treatment process and availability.

Risk Behaviors

The major risk behaviors associated with the Alaska people include inconsistent health practices, religious activities, and social integration. For instance, the combination of traditional and modern medicine in the medication process is risky since the drugs may react severely in the body (Williams, 2009). The reaction may in turn lead to death or loss of life. The divergent religious and social practices or beliefs also present real risks, especially to the integration of the people.

Genetic Susceptibility to Chronic Conditions

The people of Alaska are exposed and highly vulnerable to various chronic illnesses. They are genetically susceptible to severe chronic complications that include but are not limited to obesity, heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure (Roderick, 2010). The diseases have become a major health issue in the US at large including the Alaska area. The susceptibility of the chronic illnesses is associated with the abundance of high-fat foods, high consumption of tobacco, and active change to a sedentary lifestyle.


Nutrition is a challenge to most Alaska people due to the increased consumption of high-fat foods and changes to sedentary lifestyles. They consume fatty foods in large quantities as compared to other types of foods that lead to nutritional imbalance.


In the aspect of spirituality, the Alaska people are majorly Christians who are attached to the orthodox faithful group. They practice Christian-based ritualism, offer sacrifices, provide gifts and apiece the gods (Williams, 2009). The practices are aimed to foster their unity with the supernatural being or as a connection with the supernatural being.

Death Rituals

The performance of death rituals by the Alaska people has been a tradition for a long time. It is performed when someone dies within the community purposely to apiece the goods and makes peace between the gods and the dead.


Roderick, L. (2010). Alaska Native cultures and issues: Responses to frequently asked questions. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press.

Williams, M. T. (2009). The Alaska native reader: History, culture, politics. Durham: Duke University Press.


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