NurseAsk Nurse Lisa


“Honor Family”

-Saint Lawrence Island Yup’ik Value

Family can mean your immediate family, aunties, uncles, grandparents, and cousins (for some, lots and lots of cousins!). Everyone has their own ideas of who they consider family. At home, we learn nutrition habits, including preparation, cooking, and for many, a subsistence lifestyle. Importantly, it is also where we learn how to treat other people. Sometimes a history of trauma creates unhealthy patterns of behavior. These patterns of behavior are learned in younger generations if they are not addressed. Here is some information to help highlight relationships and family.

Domestic Violence

According to the State of Alaska, Domestic Violence (DV) is when one person maintains control and power over another in a dating, marital, or live-in relationship. DV affects everyone involved, such as children, and everyone who lives in the household. Forms of control include the following:

  • physical
  • sexual
  • emotional
  • financial
  • threats of violence
  • isolation

Often people who are in a position of authority, such as those who are older, perpetrate violence against people younger than them. In Alaska, it is illegal for family members to hurt their loved ones in any way, including physical harm, forcing someone to have sex when they don’t want to, threatening to hurt someone or kill their loved ones, and to destroy someone else’s property. Learn more here. If you are being physically, emotionally or sexually abused or taken advantage of, it is not your fault! There is help. If you are catching yourself hurting others and finding it hard to stop, there is help.

Historical Trauma

Historical trauma is defined as multigenerational trauma experienced by a cultural, racial or ethnic group. For more visit here. Many Alaskan communities and cultures have experienced historical trauma. Such experiences usually include major events, like forced migration, violent colonization, slavery, and child removal (boarding schools). Some examples of trauma in Alaska include devastating loss of traditions, stories, and language. Today, many Native communities experience higher rates of health problems such as cardiovascular disease and suicide. Family members, such as parents, aunts, uncles, or grandparents, who have lived through traumatic historical events, may carry pain with them. Sometimes these experiences are unaddressed and further unhealthy behaviors are passed onto future generations. Historical trauma is not an easy topic to talk about! The important thing is that it helps us to understand what our communities may need to heal, which is holding onto our Native traditions, ceremonies, and language.

Alaska Blanket Exercise

The ANTHC Behavioral Health Department has a resource that works to educate people about the history of indigenous communities in Alaska called the Alaska Blanket Exercise (ABE).

The Alaska Blanket Exercise program is a participatory history lesson – developed in collaboration with Alaska Native Elders, knowledge keepers and educators – that fosters truth, understanding, respect, and reconciliation among Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. To learn about how to bring ABE to your community contact

Get Help

For general resources about relationships, sex, wellness and more, please do a search on the Get Answers page.

Are you in immediate danger?

Call 911 or your local police. If not in an immediate threat, please view resources on the Get Care page.