Alaska is home to 229 federally recognized tribes with at least twenty distinct indigenous languages. A neighborhood in Anchorage has been recognized as the most diverse in the country, with 99 languages other than English spoken. Alaskans are known to live and work in some of the toughest environments in the country. Overall, Alaskan culture is diverse, colorful, hard to pin down, and resilient. Alaska Native peoples have lived on and been stewards of this land for tens of thousands of years and have survived incredible challenges, including colonization. Alaska Native communities vary widely across the state, with unique cultural practices, languages and values in all five regions. Communities are actively revitalizing cultural practices that were diminished by colonization, implementing language immersion opportunities, and reconnecting with traditional ways, while living in a very modern world. This adaptability is a sign of incredible resilience, and is just one of ways cultural connectedness is a sign of strength in Alaska.
We need to continue to support and investigate a strong relationship with culture as a protective factor against all types of violence in our state. Not only will this allow us to better recognize some current practices as violence prevention, but it could allow new, more effective prevention activities to emerge based on the distinct culture and wisdom of each unique Alaskan community.