Introduction: Alaska Native (AN) communities have retained a traditional way of life despite centuries of historical trauma and oppression. AN Elders possess a rich understanding of historical events. This study aims to identify the meaning and relative activities of resiliency, strength, and purposefulness as perceived by AN Sugpiaq Elders. Method: Eleven Elders shared their storied-narratives describing resiliency, strength, and purposefulness. A decolonizing framework was used throughout the study process, with a primary focus on individual and collective strengths. Storied-narratives were analyzed using an Indigenous method reflective of the whole story and a non-Indigenous method of thematic identification. Findings from these two approaches provided a multi-faceted tapestry of resiliency, strength, and purposefulness as perceived by AN Elders. Results: An overarching theme of collectiveness was predominant throughout the storied-narratives. Additional themes inclusive of the (1) Russian Orthodox religion, (2) getting back to the old ways, (3) Elder love and pride, (4) living in two worlds, and (5) the power of nature depicted a cyclical relationship between resiliency, strength, and purposefulness for the individual and community. Discussion: Results showed that the Elders of this community intertwined their personal resiliency, strength, and purposefulness with that of the community into a collective whole. They asserted the concept of resiliency is not static. It is instead a process of developing pathways throughout life to counteract the challenges of personal and socio-political factors. Findings from this study provide valuable information for future strength-based wellness programs and a foundation for additional resiliency research with Alaska Native peoples.
|Commitee:||One, Gail, Allen, Carol, Haberman, Mel|
|School:||Washington State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Washington|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/5(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Nursing, Native American studies, American history, Cultural anthropology, Social studies education|
|Keywords:||Alaska native elders, Resiliency, Story narratives, Native American elders, Historical trauma, Native American traditions, Wellness programs, Russian Orthodox|
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