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HealthWellnessAboriginal10TuesdayJuly292014InuitdelegatesfocusonhealtheducationFrommentalillnesstophysicalwellnessissuesspreadacrosstheNorthByDALICARMICHAELWaystoimproveeduca-tionandawarenessaroundhealthcarethatwillhelpindigenouspeopleintheArcticbuildstrongerso-cietiesintermsofmentalandphysicalwell-beingwasoneofthekeyideasdiscussedatlastweeksInuitCircumpolarCouncilICCgeneralassembly.Thetopiccameupdur-ingseveralmeetingsthroughouttheconfer-encebutwasaddressedspecificallyontheseconddayduringasessiononhealthycommunitiesandfamilywellness.OrganizationsfromacrosstheNorthsharedtheirresearchwhichspannedfromincreasedproblemsamongNorthernpeoplesasaresultofpoornutritiontoepidemiclev-elsofyouthsuicidesandviolenceinisolatedtowns-issuesthatareoftenes-calatedduetoalackofunderstandingandwhichtheysaycouldbeimprovedthroughlocaltraining.PracticalapproachestocareGaryFergusontheAlaskaNativeTribalHealthConsortiumANTHCdi-rectorofwellnessandpre-ventionsharedhisteamsgrassrootsapproachtocare.OurvisionisthatourFirstPeoplesofAlaskaarethehealthiestpeopleintheworldhesaid.Ac-cordingtoFergusontherewasa136percentincreaseindiabetesinAboriginalAlaskansovera15-yearspanfrom1995to2010atrendhewantstoreverse.Fergusonemphasizedthatbyavoidingstoregrubandreturningtotraditionalhigh-proteindietscom-munitiescouldholisticallyrestoretheirhealthwhileaddressingfoodscarcityandhighfoodcosts.Oneoftheirmostabouttraditionalsubsis-tenceintheNorthasithaslessonsonthebestfoodstoeatandhowtoaccessandpreparethem.HealsosaidthatbyparticipatinginandMarthaLundOlsenministerforthefamilyandlegaljusticedepartmentofGreenlandbothspoketothementalissuesthataffectNorthernpeople.Johnstonfocusedonthehighsui-cideratesofyouthwhileOlsenaddressedsexualassaultandtheviolenceprevalentinsomeGreen-landtowns.Bothpointedtotheneedforbetterac-cesstoresourcessuchaslearningopportunitiesandpsychologistsaspossiblesolutionstoillness.SpreadingawarenessMinnieGreychairoftheICCsHealthSteeringCommitteeHSCopenedthediscussionbysharingtheiractivitiesoverthelastfouryearsinwhichtheyhaveworkedtoraisetheprofileofInuitchallengesinternationally.Shesaidafive-pointcarestrategywaspresentedatthelastICCgeneralas-semblyin2010.SincethentheHSChasinflu-encedincreasedresearchregardingNorthernpeopleandtheirenvironmentsallthewhileimprovingaware-nessofregionalnationalandinternationalgroupsthroughvariouscampaignsandforums.ThoughHSCworkhasbeensuccessfulsofarthecommitteecontinuestore-evaluateitsactionsbasedontheevolvingneedsofInuit.Attheendoftheweek-longconferenceadecla-rationwassignedbyICCdelegateswithseveraldi-rectiveslinkingwell-beingandeducationinhopesthatamorepositivedis-cussioncantakeplaceatthenextICCgeneralas-semblyin2018.effectivecampaignshesaidhasbeentheTra-ditionalFoodGuideforAlaskaNativeCancerSur-vivors.TheANTHCnowrecommendsthebooktoanyonewishingtolearnsocialfoodgatheringactiv-itiespeoplecouldnegatetheisolatedfeelingsoftenreportedinsmalltowns.ThomasJohnstonpresi-dentoftheNationalInuitYouthCouncilofCanadaOurvisionisthatourFirstPeoplesofAlaskaarethehealthiestpeopleintheworld.GaryFergusonAlaskaNativeTribalHealthConsortiumInukdancersanddrummersfromacrossthecircumpolarNorthjoinedtogetherinInuviktosharecultureoutsideofpoliticaldiscussionslastweekduringtheInuitCircumpolarCouncilsgeneralassembly.DelegatescamefromasfarasGreenlandandAlaskatojoinInuitandInuvialuitfromCanadasNorth.PhotosNathalieHeiberg-Harrison