“It’s Been Good, Not Drinking”: Alaska Native Narratives of Lifetime Sobriety

Chase Hensel, Sven Haakenson Jr. and Gerald Mohatt


Introduction. Alcohol abuse is closely connected with so much hurt and pain in northern communities that it had to be addressed in this session. Much of what is done in the way of prevention and treatment of alcohol abuse originates from outside indigenous cultures. However, many Native people have either remained sober or become sober without ever going into a formal treatment program. Ironically, until very recently, little research effort has gone into understanding the backgrounds and attitudes of this population.“The People Awakening Project,” a collaborative effort between a group of Alaska Natives interested in sobriety and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, has changed that. Although the project is not finished, this presentation provides a clear sense of how the research is being conducted, what kinds of data are emerging from it, and what some of the preliminary results look like. Chase Hensel gave the original presentation in Quebec City. Svenne Haakenson and Gerry Mohatt, who are heavily involved in the project, join him in authoring this written version. WHA

  • Chase Hensel, Department of Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775

  • Sven Haakenson, Alutiiq Museum, Kodiak, Alaska 99615

  • Gerald Mohatt, Department of Psychology University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775

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