Clinical Assessment: Community and Neighborhood Assessment

Overall Community and Population Characteristics

Many Alaska Native live in remote communities with the number of residents ranging from a few hundred to about two thousand. In isolated regions, a subsistence economy supports the community. Many villages continue to have smaller revenue and a higher unemployment rate than the rest of the state.

Environmental and Safety Conditions

The immense wilderness in Alaska can have a protective function for the social and cultural life of the Alaska Native; however, the influx of non-Natives into their remote territories has changed their environment. Industrial incidents such as the Exxon-Valdez oil spill rendered an area unsuitable for hunting and fishing for many years. Those who experienced chemical exposure or endured a prolonged state of under-nutrition are older adult today.

Services and Support from Neighborhood and Community

By an act of Congress, the aboriginal lands of Alaska Natives became the responsibility of 12 regional corporations. The economy and resources in these areas were shaped by these corporations. Health care from tribal doctors and other community services received support from them. A Traditional Healing Program for Alaska Native patients is available in Anchorage. The services include Healing Hands, Prayer, Cleansing, Song and Dance, Traditional Plant Medicine, and culturally sensitive and supportive counseling.