nrc header

National Resource Center for
American Indian, Alaska Native
& Native Hawaiian Elders

University of Alaska Anchorage
3211 Providence Drive
CHSW, Suite 205
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: 907.786.4303
Fax: 907.786.4440

Supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Last updated:
February 16, 2012


Listening to Our Elders <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

In its first year, the Center held several regional Conferences of Elders. Listening to the voices of Alaska Native Elders in this way helped us:

  • Define Alaska Native Elder values to understand appropriate Native Elder care standards;
  • Define clinical, behavioral, and educational needs of Elders and caregivers;
  • Identify "best, promising and emerging practices" of the current incorporation of culture-based Native Elder care programs; and
  • Provide an arena for rural- and urban-based discussions relating to the increasing problem of Elder physical and financial abuse, exploitation, neglect, and violence as part of a process to assist Native communities in formulating their own plans to reduce occurrences of abuse.

The Conferences of Elders will be held in 18 key locations representing primary Alaska Native populations. Center staff will travel to each location and solicit information using a series of open-ended questions. With permission from the participants, the Conferences will be recorded, translated, and transcribed. Key themes will be identified using ATLAS.ti narrative data interpretive software. A report based on these conferences, "Our View of Dignified Aging," will be produced detailing Elders' desires, expectations, and perceived clinical needs, characteristics of acceptable care, and perceived unmet and future needs for care.

The following videos describe the NRC's initial efforts before the Undersecretary of Aging directed the NRC to concentrate only on Alaska since Alaska by itself has many different cultural groups with 229 federally recognized tribes.

Voices of Our Elders - Part 1 (video file, wmv)
Voices of Our Elders - Part 2 (video file, wmv)
Voices of Our Elders - Part 3 (video file, wmv)

NRC/ANTHC Partnership <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

The National Resource Center for American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiian Elders at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) have entered into a memorandum of agreement to work collaboratively to assess the needs of Alaska Native Elders, allow for the joint use of existing and prospective research data, develop programmatic and planning materials, and create a joint Alaska Native Elders Health Advisory Committee.

In 2003, the UAA College of Health received a grant from the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) to develop a National Resource Center for American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiian Elders. The goals of this project are to:

  • Assess the current status of Native Elders in Alaska,
  • Develop an understanding of the cultural values that drive expectations and perceived needs for care,
  • Document "best, promising and emerging practices" that are in current use,
  • Solicit recommendations for community responses to elder abuse, exploitation and violence that are appropriate to Alaska Native cultures, and
  • Provide education to medical providers

Also in 2003, ANTHC received a non-recurring grant from the U.S. Indian Health Service (IHS) to conduct A Comprehensive Evaluation of the Elder Care Needs of Alaska Natives. The goals of this project are to:

  • Assess the long-term care needs and health status of Alaska Native Elders,
  • Identify service gaps and best practices,
  • Develop service models for programs that are culturally appropriate and sustainable at the regional and local level, and
  • Make this information available for statewide, regional and local planning efforts.

The collaboration between these two organizations will reveal information about what Elders themselves want in the way of long-term care and how they would prefer that care be administered. Analyzing the information gathered will identify current and potential resources for meeting the health and long-term care needs of Alaska Native Elders, as well as culturally relevant best practices to replicate or modify.

Graduate Courses <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Culturally-sensitive research methods for surveying Native Elders will be incorporated into two graduate-level courses taught by Dr. (Kanaqlak) George P. Charles through the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), College of Rural Alaska, Alaska Native and Rural Development program. The courses are:

  • Community-Based Research Methods (RD 650). This course explores community-based research principles and practices. Course emphasis is on developing a thorough understanding of the community research process, from conceptualization to implementation and evaluation. The course includes skill development for both quantitative and qualitative research. (3.0 credits)
  • Indigenous Organization Management (RD 652). This course examines the purposes, structures, and management methods of indigenous organizations, with an emphasis on the North. It provides a historical overview of Alaska Native organizations, including those established to pursue Native rights, land claims, and government services. Case studies of regional tribal organizations and corporations established under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act are examined. Management of Alaska Native organizations is compared with formal organizations established by indigenous peoples throughout the circumpolar North. Western and indigenous organizational cultures and perceptions are reviewed. (3.0 credit)

This project was supported, in part by grant number 90OI0001/03, from the U.S. Administration on Aging, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration on Aging policy.