Before contact, the indigenous people of Alaska depended on knowledge of anatomy, herbal medicine, and other healing practices for health maintenance. With contact, a social system that had been ideally suited to its purpose was destroyed and replaced by another, ill-suited to the temperament as well as to the social, physiological, and psychological needs of the Alaskan Native.
Available upon request at the Alaska Medical Library, located on the second floor of UAA/APU Consortium Library. Ask for accession no. 101971.
In March 2002, the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy will present its recommendations to President Bush on CAM education, training, licensing, coordination of research, dissemination of information, access and delivery of services. The Commission's report will have implications for the medical care of indigenous peoples. This article discusses traditional healing in Alaska and responds to Commission questions on traditional healer designation, selection, credentialing, licensing, preservation and the potential integration of traditional healing with conventional care. Philosophy underlying allopathic medicine and traditional healing is explained. An integrative model of care, The Circle of Healing, is described. "We are rebels, someone to flout. They drew a square that shut us out. But love and we had the will to win. We drew a circle that let them in." (Anonymous, 1997)