Nursing Homework Paper on Alaska Natives

Alaska Natives

Alaska is native people of northern America in United States. The Alaska culture consists of several groups which include Irupiat, Yupik, Aleut, Eyak, Tingit, Haida, Tsimshian and Northern Athabaskan cultures. Ancestors of the Alaska Natives are known to have moved in northern America and Arctic area thousands of years ago and genetic studies show that are not closely related to indigenous people of South America since they never migrated to southern areas (Robert, 1984, Pg4).

Demography of Alaska Natives

Alaska is located in the North America continent and is in the northwestern region of United States where it borders the Arctic Ocean waters along with Russia, Sweden, Norway, Greenland and Canada. According to Dennis(2006,pg16-22), almost 8600 Alaska natives lived in this region in 1990 as indicated by United States census records conducted after every 10 years. Dennis further states that average birth rate throughout Alaska in 1990 was approximately 24.4 per 1,000 people. According to United States census Bureau, the population of Alaska natives was 710,231 in 2010. The bureau states that life expectancy at birth for Alaska Natives is 69.4 years compared to 76.7 years for all races in the U.S and 74.7 years for all Alaskans.

Health Care Practices

The Alaska natives advocate for healthy communities. As Dennis(2006,pg15) explains, the Alaska people are affected by several health conditions at higher rate as compared to other Americans and this has made them to develop healthcare facilities and organizations that fund programs that target these conditions. They have put in place preventive measures at community level to reduce diseases, premature deaths and injury. He states that the department of Environmental Health and Engineering provides planning, design, construction and operations support for clean water and sanitation projects.

Risk Behaviors & Susceptibility to Genetically chronic conditions

  According to health surveillance conducted by Denny, Holtzman and Cobb (1997-2000), cigarette smoking was one of most health risk behavior among the Alaska natives and from their study 42% of the adult population is cigarette smokers. Consumption of alcoholic drinks is also another health risk behavior observed among the Alaska native and the prevalence is higher in men than in women. As Dennis (2006) states, heart disease and stroke are among of the common hereditary chronic diseases in the Alaska population and she further explains that the gene which play a role in risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure and vascular condition is prevalent in Alaska population.

Nutrition

According to National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey2 (1987-1988),Alaska natives diet consisted of carbohydrates(13%), proteins(39%) ,fat(21%), iron(25%),vitamin A and C and  calcium. From this survey it was observed that they consumed more fish than vegetables and fruits. Food Bank of Alaska in cooperation with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) have provided a new source of food to rural Alaska which encourage feeding on fruit and vegetable and frequent use of traditional foods in order to maintain good health in the Alaska population.

Religious Practices and Death Rituals

Robert (1984) explains that Alaska natives believed in existence of individual spirits that inhabited natural objects and phenomenons. They also believed in existence of spirits which were not associated with any material. Good relations with spirits were maintained by observing taboos, wearing of amules and by participating in communal ceremonies. In 18th century, some of the Alaska natives converted to Christian as a result of evangelization mission by Swedish missionaries. Life and death were believed to be a continuing cycle through which individuals passed and they used to place personal possessions on the grave for use by the person in life after death.

References

  1. Ackerman, Robert E. (1984).Prehistory of the Asian Eskimo Zone. In Arctic vol.5 of North American Indians.Washington, DC:Smithsoian Institution, pg1-10
  • ANCSA Regional Association Report. (2006). Anchorage: Association of ANCSA Regional Corporation Presidents/CEOs, pg37.
  • Dennis, A. (2006). Introduction to Paleo-Indian. In Environment and Population, vol. 3 of Handbook of North American Indians, ed. Douglas H. Ubelaker. Washington, DC:Smithsonian Institution pg16-22