It is critical to understand the influence historical events and historical trauma have had upon Alaska Native values, health beliefs, illness behaviors, trust, and expectations of health care providers. The cohort experiences of Alaska Natives may have impacted their health care belief system over generations. Understanding cohort experiences of Alaska Natives may help to break down the cultural and structural barriers to health care.
The historical context and cohort experiences of Alaska Natives during age periods are diverse. The perceptions of the experiences are likely different across the indigenous cultural groups in Alaska, according to the region and culture.
Alaska Native cohorts who were children when they experienced separation from others through epidemics or boarding school are now Elders or seniors and are being relocated to assisted living facilities. They may exhibit historical trauma like symptoms, or Historical Trauma (HT). A health care professional who is unaware of this history may jump to the wrong conclusion and not provide the most optimal, or culturally competent, care for that particular person.