Research scientist Heather Sauyaq Jean Gordon calls subsistence ‘a preventive and protective cultural practice for well-being.’
Research released on September 5th highlights an issue rarely discussed in the field of child welfare, but vital to the health and well-being of Indigenous children and families: their stewardship of the natural environment.
The unique study focuses on many generations of the Alaska Native Ninilchik Village Tribe, and the harmful impacts of colonization and federal and state mismanagement of traditional homelands. Tribal members contributed to the research, conducted over 12 months in South Central Alaska.
“Subsistence is a critical part of Alaska Native cultures and that the ability to pass subsistence practices to children is an important protective factor for their well-being,” reads a policy brief outlining the findings.
The report is authored by Heather Sauyaq Jean Gordon, a research scientist with the nonprofit research and policy institute Child Trends. Gordon, 38, is Iñupiaq and an enrolled member of the Nome Eskimo Community. She defines Indigenous subsistence as reaching far beyond hunting, fishing, and gathering food.
HUNT FISH GATHER - that is a treaty right too in North America.