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The native people of Alaska have experienced historical trauma and on-going rapid, often externally imposed changes in culture and lifestyle patterns. As a consequence, these populations shoulder a disproportionately high burden of psychological stress. Yup'ik communities in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta region in Southwest Alaska have experienced epidemics and forced acculturation, contributing to behavioural health issues, including substance abuse and suicide. Cultural loss in Yup'ik communities has resulted in generational gaps that disrupt the transmission of cultural traditions and values important for well-being. Despite these intrusions, Yup'ik communities have retained cultural traditions which act as protective factors against the development of physical and psychological illness. These cultural protective factors can be harnessed to collaboratively develop culturally grounded interventions that reduce stress and build connections across generations, helping communities move towards wellness on their own terms.

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International Journal of Circumpolar Health



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Co-Action Publishing. © 2013 Inna Rivkin et al.


Int J Circumpolar Health 2013. © 2013 Inna Rivkin et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License (, permitting all non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Citation: Int J Circumpolar Health 2013, 72: 20958 -

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License