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Report: Alaska heroin use is skyrocketing

first_imgHealthReport: Alaska heroin use is skyrocketingJuly 14, 2015 by Annie Feidt, APRN-Anchorage Share:Heroin use is on the rise in the last frontier. (Image courtesy of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.)A new report from the state health department shows a dramatic rise in heroin use in Alaska. The number of hospitalizations for heroin related causes nearly doubled in the state from 2008 to 2012.And in 2013, 23 people in Alaska died from heroin overdose, four times the number of overdose deaths in 2008.“When we look at the magnitude of heroin deaths combined with the magnitude of deaths due to prescription opioids, we’re looking at a similar number to what we see with motor vehicle accidents,” says Dr. Jay Butler,  the state’s chief medical officer. “That’s a problem, but it’s one of those things that don’t tend to get in the news very often because it doesn’t happen all at once.”According to the report, many addicts switch from prescription pain killers to heroin because it’s cheaper and easier to find. Butler says he had a patient last year who told him he spent more on cigarettes than heroin.Butler is working to improve access to the drug naloxone, which can prevent overdose deaths. He wants to make the state’s prescription drug monitoring program more user friendly for prescribers and pharmacists.“We also need to get the word out. I’ll be honest; I’m a licensed physician with a DEA number. I didn’t even realize we had a prescription drug monitoring program until I worked for the state,” Butler saysThe state’s prescription drug monitoring program was established in 2008 to combat the misuse of controlled substances.Share this story:last_img read more

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Local marijuana regs set for public hearing

first_imgBusiness | Economy | Juneau | KRNN | KXLL | Local Government | MarijuanaLocal marijuana regs set for public hearingOctober 21, 2015 by Elizabeth Jenkins Share:The Juneau Assembly wants public comment on an ordinance that will define the marijuana business in the capital city. It specifies where marijuana can be grown, processed and sold.Assemblymember Karen Crane said the Juneau Planning Commission spoke about wanting to preserve neighborhoods.“But they only preserve neighborhoods inside the urban service area,” Crane said. “They have left open action in neighborhoods outside urban service area, and I think there needs to be more discussion about this.”The city has a moratorium that expires at the end of the year on marijuana businesses. After that, pot entrepreneurs will be able to apply for conditional use permits. Crane said she’d like to hear more input before the deadline.“I know there’s a lot of pressure to make these decisions but this decision, I’d like to have some more discussion on — instead of being pushed into making it right now,” Crane said.The public gets a chance to weigh in at the next assembly meeting on Nov. 9.Share this story:last_img read more

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JPD officer shoots Juneau man after responding to car crash

first_imgCampbell said he didn’t know whether there were or would be charges filed.An investigation is ongoing.Police said more information will be released later today. A news conference is scheduled for 3 p.m. today.The last officer-involved shooting occurred in 2007, when Juneau police officers shot and killed Randall Clevenger, 40. Clevenger reportedly raised a samurai sword and advanced on the officers.Campbell said a 2012 incident in which former police Lt. Troy Wilson was involved was not classified as an officer-involved shooting because Wilson was no longer an officer and no active duty officers fired shots. No one was injured in that incident.Share this story: Crime & Courts | JuneauJPD officer shoots Juneau man after responding to car crashDecember 3, 2016 by Tripp J Crouse, KTOO Share:Update | 4:04 p.m.The victim of an officer-involved shooting is expected to survive, Juneau Police Chief Bryce Johnson said at a news conference Saturday.Two Juneau police officers responded to a single-vehicle crash early Saturday morning. They determined the Jeep Cherokee involved in the crash was the same one that failed to stop during an attempted police traffic stop earlier.  Police did not pursue the vehicle.“Vehicle pursuits are incredibly dangerous,” Johnson said. “People die all the time in vehicle pursuits, including the person in the vehicle, innocent third-parties and the police officers.”“So we are unwilling to put the public in at risk of death unless there’s a significant crime that has occurred,” he said.Johnson said that at the time of the attempted stop, JPD couldn’t determine if a significant crime had been committed.Johnson said the driver in the crash, a 38-year-old Juneau man, refused officer instructions and a sergeant called dispatch to report that the man had barricaded himself in the vehicle.One minute later, the officers requested medical assistance for the driver after he suffered a gunshot wound. An officer had shot him, according to a news release.Johnson did not know how many times the officer fired.“I do not know. There were not a whole bunch,” Johnson said. “I don’t want to speculate whether there was one or two. It was a small number.”It is Juneau Police Department policy to withhold the names of officers involved in officer-involved shootings for a minimum of 24-hours.Dash-cam videos and officer-carried digital recorders will also be part of the investigation.“We do not have the body cameras in place now, so there were no body cam recordings,” Johnson said. “The vehicles that were at the scene are equipped with dash-cam videos. We have secured them. We do not know what they were able to capture yet at this point.”Officers also carry digital recorders, Johnson said, and they will be part of the ongoing investigation.A 38-year-old Juneau man was injured in an officer-involved shooting and medivaced to Seattle. Juneau police originally responded to a vehicle crash early Saturday morning. (Photo by Quinton Chandler/KTOO)Update | 12:28 p.m.A 38-year-old Juneau man injured in an officer-involved shooting early Saturday morning had been driving a gray Jeep Cherokee that failed to stop for a Juneau police officer earlier.According to a police news release, a police officer attempted to stop the vehicle about 12:56 a.m. in the area of Egan Drive and Mendenhall Loop Road. The vehicle failed to stop for the officer, who did not pursue the vehicle.About 3:55 a.m. a female Juneau resident called police dispatch and reported that her husband told her he had been in an accident out the road. Her husband, a 42-year-old Juneau man, was a passenger in the vehicle. He did not name the driver.About 4:19 a.m., police located the single-vehicle crash in the 16500 block of Ocean View Drive. The vehicle was off the road and in the trees, according to the news release. Police positively identified the vehicle as the same Jeep Cherokee that evaded police earlier.The driver was identified as a 38-year-old Juneau man.Police said he did not comply with an officer’s instructions and an on-duty sergeant notified dispatch that the driver had barricaded himself in the Jeep.Within one minute, officers requested medical assistance for the driver who had been shot one time by an officer.Alcohol appears to be a factor in this incident.The district attorney and Alaska State Troopers Bureau of Investigation are assisting in the ongoing investigation.Original story | 11:45 a.m.A 38-year-old Juneau man injured in an officer-involved shooting early Saturday on Ocean View Drive has been medevaced to Seattle.Two officers responded to a call about 4:19 a.m. to the 16500 block of Ocean View Drive, according to a Juneau Police Department news release.Lt. David Campbell said the officers were responding to a vehicle crash. The officers contacted a man who was in the area. He was later shot by one of the officers.Police did not disclose other details about the shooting.“We’re still investigating the case and I don’t have the answers as far as as the chain of events that happened on the scene that resulted in the shooting,” Campbell said.An ambulance transported the shooting victim to Bartlett Regional Hospital before he was flown to Seattle.Neither officer was injured, according to the release. They have been placed on administrative leave.Police withheld the names of the shooting victim and police officers.Earlier, the police department Twitter account posted a tweet that Point Lena Loop Road was closed.last_img read more

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Senate committee grills state over inaccurate oil production forecast

first_imgAlaska’s Energy Desk | Economy | Energy & Mining | State GovernmentSenate committee grills state over inaccurate oil production forecastApril 14, 2017 by Rashah McChesney, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Juneau Share:Sen. Anna MacKinnon, R-Anchorage, speaks during a Senate Majority Press Availability on April 3, 2017.  MacKinnon is the chair of the Senate Finance committee. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)Alaska’s Department of Revenue faced criticism during a Senate Finance Committee meeting on Friday after it put out its spring forecast. It predicts an unprecedented 12 percent drop in oil production next year. That prediction came from the state’s Department of Natural Resources, which took over the task of predicting oil production last year. The state used to use an outside consultant. While the Department of Revenue issues a revenue forecast in the fall and spring, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) only issues one forecast for oil production. They won’t update that forecast again for several months. And if their initial fall prediction is wrong, it can skew the spring forecast. And that’s what DNR’s Ed King says happened this year. “So the numbers you’re looking at this year for [fiscal year 20]18 on this particular forecast are…stale,” King said. “They have not been updated. Just to say, on the record, [it’s] very clear the department does not anticipate a 12 percent decline over the next year.”That didn’t sit well with lawmakers who use the spring forecast — and projections of revenue that will come in to the state from oil production — to justify their proposals for state’s budget.  Among other proposals, lawmakers are considering an income tax this session, to help fill the state’s budget gap. Eagle River Republican Senator Anna MacKinnon says her finance committee needs better modeling. “Production will play a huge role,” MacKinnon said. “It makes a huge economic difference in the picture that is being painted for Alaskans as we go forward with at least one legislative body in pursuit of taxing individual Alaskans.”King told members of the Senate finance committee that Department of Natural Resources staff are trying to do more with less. “I guess the parting comment I would make is that, with reduced budgets and the reduced resources and the task of producing this forecast without any additional resources is a fairly heavy lift for us to absorb and we can’t necessarily do that every single month while new data comes in,” King said. “We are doing the best we can.”Prices per barrel of oil are projected to increase slightly to $54 per barrel in the 2018 fiscal year. And another bright spot in the revenue forecast is that the state expects to have about $200 million more in general fund revenue this fiscal year than it originally projected. And another $208 million more next year. Share this story:last_img read more

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Legislature rejects Walker’s call to act on nominees

first_imgCrime & Courts | Energy & Mining | Interior | Southwest | State GovernmentLegislature rejects Walker’s call to act on nomineesApril 27, 2017 by Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO and Alaska Public Media Share:Senate President Pete Kelly takes questions from reporters after the Legislature voted on Thursday to adjourn from a joint session. (Photo by Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO and Alaska Public Media)Gov. Bill Walker tried and failed to get lawmakers to vote on his nominees Thursday.Five minutes after starting a joint session, the Legislature voted along caucus lines, 32-26, to adjourn without holding a vote. Senate President Pete Kelly said he plans to hold votes on the nominees before the legislative session ends. The deadline to end the session is May 17.Kelly said the Legislature should focus on the budget and a plan to draw from the Permanent Fund to balance the budget. While some nominees have been controversial, Kelly denied that was a factor in the delay.“There’s nothing about this that has anything to do with any person,” Kelly said. “There’s no one that I know of with a target on their back. I think there’s some people who may have some difficulties. There’s no question about that. But none of this has anything to do with any of the nominees.”Kelly and other Republican lawmakers have raised questions about Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth, Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission member Hollis French and Human Rights Commission member Drew Phoenix.They and another 100 nominees will continue to act in their positions until either a vote or the end of the session. If there’s no vote, all of the nominees must leave their positions.House Speaker Bryce Edgmon said the Legislature should act on the nominees and then move on to other business.“I was very disappointed that we couldn’t get that work done today, knowing the workload that lies before the Legislature,” Edgmon said.Walker issued a proclamation on Wednesday calling the Legislature into a joint session, after the Senate twice turned down the House’s invitation to meet.In a letter to Walker, Kelly called the proclamation “an unproductive distraction.”Of the legislators present at the session, every Senate majority and House minority member voted to adjourn, while every Senate minority and House majority member voted against adjournment.Share this story:last_img read more

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Prince of Wales Island schools started growing food. Now first graders are binging on broccoli

first_img Roots of hydroponically grown vegetables sit in water instead of soil. (Video still by David Purdy/KTOO) Wood burning in a boiler at Thorne Bay to heat the school and greenhouse. (Video still by David Purdy/KTOO) Students learn to plant carrots in the Coffman Cove greenhouse. (Video still by David Purdy/KTOO) Much of rural Alaska is a desert when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables. Not here.“While most farmers or producers are winding down this time of year, especially in Alaska, we’re just winding up,” Beus said. “We’ve got a bunch of lettuce, kale and chard – really cool weather crops that we’ll enjoy this winter.”It’s the second planting season for some of these students.Eighth-grader Damon Holtman checks the acidity of the water circulating in the hydroponic system.What’s he grown so far?“Lettuce, zucchini, pumpkin, watermelon, tomato, peppers, sunflowers, kale – a bunch of stuff,” he said.Kindergartener Emma Beus is carefully spreading carrot seeds for this winter’s crop, but she’s still thinking about last summer’s berries.“We got like these huge blueberries,” the 6-year-old said. “They were huge but they were yummy, too.” Stacks of wood ready to be burned in the boiler that heats the school and greenhouse at Thorne Bay. (Video still by David Purdy/KTOO) The wood-fired boilers make the farming possible.“If they were burning oil to maintain the temperatures in the greenhouses that would be prohibitively expensive,” said Bob Deering, the U.S. Forest Service’s renewable energy coordinator for Alaska. “Transitioning over to a low-cost, wood energy has been the enabling factor for communities to add on these greenhouses.”The school district pays $200 for each cord of stacked and seasoned wood. That bounty on firewood has offered opportunities to under-employed families with access to a truck and chainsaw.“By sourcing their wood from local supplies not only to you not send money out for the oil, but that money stays to pay for somebody to harvest and process the wood,” Deering said. “That guy then can afford a house, which cascades through the community.”Prince of Wales Island is mostly covered by the Tongass National Forest.Logging has steadily declined, yet the former logging camp and mill town communities are hanging on.Southeast Island School District has six schools on Prince of Wales Island; a seventh closed last year because there were too few kids.“There aren’t a lot of jobs,” district superintendent Lauren Burch said. “They’ve opened up some logging again, but on the whole, that’s someone from someplace else who lives in the camp and takes off again. I mean, it doesn’t open schools, it doesn’t bring in kids.”The local diet on Prince of Wales Island includes a lot of meat and fish.Store-brought produce is expensive: it’s about $5 for a head of lettuce.“By the time the broccoli gets to our store you can hold it up and wiggle it because it’s that old,” said Priscilla Goulding, the district’s grants coordinator.The Alaska Energy Authority has funded more than a dozen wood boilers statewide – four of them are owned and operated by this school district.Students’ eating habits are changing now, she said, as she watches the elementary kids help themselves to the salad bar.The salad bar in the school cafeteria at Thorne Bay. Vegetables from the school’s greenhouse often end up here. (Video still by David Purdy/KTOO)“One of the cooks told me that there’s been a little fad in the first grade of broccoli with melted cheese over it,” she said a little proudly. “One kid just really loved that and the fad spread to the whole first grade.”There have been setbacks: an outbreak of aphids devastated Coffman Cove’s summer lettuce crop.Burch is frank about these challenges.“You’d have 1,200 lettuce plants laying on their side and no one knows anything,” he said. “Did they put in too much of the chemical in, did they let the water supply – and whoever was supposed to be watching over the weekend never seems to know what happened.”Running a hydroponic greenhouse has a steep learning curve.Burch said staff and students are learning from their setbacks.And in the meantime, the kids are eating better and working with their hands.He offers a bit of homespun wisdom from his days growing up on a farm in Oregon.“If the kids will grow it, they’ll try eating it,” Burch said. “I mean, they’ll try a Brussels sprout if they grow it.”This school year will be the first full growing season for the district’s greenhouses. Surplus produce is sold to the local community; farm-to-table has come to rural Southeast Alaska.This story is part of our public media partnership with Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America. Major funding is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation.Support on KTOO comes from thread, advancing the quality of early care and education in Alaska. For more stories that are part of this project, visit KTOO.org/ChasingTheDreamShare this story: Chasing the Dream | Community | Food | SoutheastPrince of Wales Island schools started growing food. Now first graders are binging on broccoliDecember 12, 2017 by Jacob Resneck, KTOO Share:Audio Playerhttps://media.ktoo.org/2017/12/12GREENHOUSESnpr1.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.One Southeast school district has been raising fruits and vegetables in greenhouses, because it’s easier to get kids to eat their greens if those children have grown those vegetables themselves.And the district powers the project with renewable energy.An elementary class in Coffman Cove is assembled for a morning lesson. But instead of desks in this classroom, there are UV lights and row after row of raised soil beds.The district’s agriculture coordinator Cody Beus shows the class how to plant carrot seeds.This past year the school built a 6,912-square-foot greenhouse.Wood-fired boilers feed heat into the hydroponic system. The roots of the crops sit in heated water rather than soil.last_img read more

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Ax-wielding musher from Whitehorse chases bison off Iditarod trail

first_imgInterior | Outdoors | Southwest | Sports | WildlifeAx-wielding musher from Whitehorse chases bison off Iditarod trailMarch 9, 2018 by Davis Hovey, KNOM Share:Whitehorse musher Marcelle Fressineau examines her ax at the Takotna checkpoint of the Iditarod on March 9, 2009. She says she had used the ax somewhere between Rohn and Nikolai to fend off bison. (Photo by Davis Hovey/KNOM)Wildlife are a common occurrence on the Iditarod trail, and they sometimes have chance encounters with mushers. Most notably was the 2016 incident between wood bison and DeeDee Jonrowe. Now, in this year’s Iditarod, one more musher can say they’ve come across bison along the trail.During Marcelle Fressineau’s third Iditarod run, somewhere between Rohn and Nikolai, her dog team stumbled across a few large woodland creatures.“I saw three bison in the middle of the trail, and I tried to slow down and stop the sled, thinking that they would go away. But they stayed on the trail and I stopped my sled, and it was difficult to stop because the dogs were excited. There were two big bison and one small one, and the young one decided to come near the dogs.”Fressineau said she was scared, as she did not see any tracks, and the bison caught her off guard. So to protect her dogs and herself, Fressineau grabbed the only tool she had.“So I took my ax and I run to the bigger one, ‘cause I know it’s dangerous to approach the young one, and I yell ‘go away, go away,’ and they go off into the bushes.”The veteran musher from Whitehorse says she has encountered moose on the trail before, but not bison. Even though she did not have a firearm with her, Fressineau’s tactics prevented her team and herself from getting injured.Now Fressineau focuses on getting to the finish line in Nome. She departed Takotna after finishing her 24-hour layover at 8:47 a.m. Friday.Share this story:last_img read more

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State is one step closer to getting a gas pipeline, but not the one the Walker administration wants

first_imgAlaska’s Energy DeskState is one step closer to getting a gas pipeline, but not the one the Walker administration wantsJune 22, 2018 by Rashah McChesney, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Juneau Share:The current route planned for the Alaska Standalone Pipeline — an in-state natural gas pipeline designed to bring gas from the North Slope to Alaska communities. (Map courtesy of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation)Alaska is one step closer to getting an in-state natural gas pipeline; though it’s not clear if the project will ever be built. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday that it had released the final supplement for its environmental review of the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline project. The final permit in that process should be released sometime in the next three months. The in-state pipeline project has taken a backseat to the massive Alaska LNG export project. Both projects would pipe gas several hundred miles from the North Slope to market, but the standalone pipeline is designed for in-state use, while the Alaska LNG project is designed to sell that gas to Asian markets. Staff at the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation have repeatedly said that they are focused on building the larger project. Frank Richards is the senior vice president for both projects at the state’s gasline corporation. He said the in-state pipeline project is basically on hold, now that it has the permits it needs. “It’s truly the backup plan,” Richards said. “It means we will have the permits and authorization to construct, should the need arise.”Even though the in-state pipeline project is on hold, Richards said it can still help the state develop the Alaska LNG project. The pipeline projects are similar enough that federal regulators could use work done on one to guide permitting for the other. Also, Richards said there is about $11 million left over from developing the in-state project that can now be used to fund the export project.Share this story:last_img read more

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Police arrest person of interest in Thanksgiving Day shooting

first_imgCrime & Courts | Juneau | Public SafetyPolice arrest person of interest in Thanksgiving Day shootingDecember 3, 2018 by Adelyn Baxter, KTOO Share:The search has ended for a person of interest in a Thanksgiving Day shooting.The Juneau Police Department looked for 27-year-old Micah Nelson for more than 10 days following an alleged narcotics sale that resulted in a Juneau man being sent to the hospital with a gunshot wound to his shoulder. Police said at the time Nelson was considered to be armed with a firearm.Last week, Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School students were ordered to stay put after officers spotted Nelson nearby. Despite an hours-long search, he evaded arrest.Juneau police arrested 27-year-old Micah Nelson in connection to a Thanksgiving Day shooting. (Photo courtesy Juneau Police Department)According to a JPD release sent out Monday, police received a tip Sunday night that led them to a residence near Brotherhood Bridge. Officers surrounded the building and the occupants confirmed that Nelson was inside. Nelson turned himself in without further incident.The release notes that officers were relieved Nelson decided to cooperate because it was “amazingly cold outside.”The low temperature Sunday evening was 19 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.Juneau police Lt. Krag Campbell said the department received several tips and reports from community members during the search for Nelson.In addition to his alleged involvement in the shooting, Nelson has two felony arrest warrants for probation and parole violations and a misdemeanor arrest warrant for failing to appear in court in Anchorage.Criminal charges related to Nelson’s involvement in the shooting will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office.Court records say he is set to be arraigned in Juneau Superior Court Monday afternoon.Share this story:last_img read more

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Can trauma be passed down through DNA? Researchers and Hoonah residents search for answers.

first_imgAlaska Native Arts & Culture | Community | Family | Health | Science & Tech | Sealaska | SoutheastCan trauma be passed down through DNA? Researchers and Hoonah residents search for answers.June 28, 2019 by Zoe Grueskin, KTOO Share:The city of Hoonah on May 2, 2019 (Photo by David Purdy/KTOO)It’s well known that traumatic experiences can have lifelong impacts on health and well-being. But it’s possible that those effects can last longer than a single lifetime. A new study asks whether the effects of trauma have been passed down genetically in Tlingit families in Hoonah.Audio Playerhttps://media.ktoo.org/2019/06/28TraumaStudy.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Much of the history is familiar to rural Alaska Native communities anywhere in the state: children taken from their families and sent to boarding schools, language suppressed. But the Tlingit community of Hoonah has also experienced unique traumas, such as a fire that destroyed much of the town in 1944.“This major fire that occurred there in the in the ’40s. And Bureau of Indian Affairs was very much involved in our lives, and at the time, they wouldn’t allow them to rebuild clan houses,” Worl said.Rosita Worl is the president of the Juneau-based Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI). She’s also an anthropologist. Some of her first work looked at the social and cultural impacts of historical trauma in Alaska Native communities.“And then now, how many years later, to find out that these changes, these impacts, could change our very physiological being,” said Worl.Trauma might even affect our DNA, our most basic stuff. And, if that’s the case, those changes could be passed down through families, impacting people generations removed from traumatic events. It’s a young field of research, and SHI is part of it. The non-profit just launched a study to see if residents and descendants of Hoonah have experienced any genetic changes because of that trauma.Principal investigator Ripan Malhi is a molecular anthropologist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Malhi and his team explain it like this: Your DNA is fixed. It’s like a sheet of music; all the notes are already printed on the page. Those are your genes. But as in music, it’s all about expression.“It’s the musician that can change how the music is played, or you can stress some notes really loudly or play other notes really softly,” Malhi said. “And so that’s kind of like gene expression that changes the level of how the genes are expressed, even though the notes are the same.”Trauma, so the thinking goes, can change someone’s gene expression. And that could impact their health — maybe make them more likely to develop certain diseases — or it could affect the health of their children, even grandchildren.Working with the Hoonah Indian Association, SHI is inviting Tlingit residents and descendants of Hoonah to take part in the study, called Epigenomic Effects of European Colonization on Alaska Native Peoples. Participants have their blood drawn, for the DNA sample, and they complete a survey. It asks about both historic and more recent traumatic events, as well as how participants feel about that trauma, how much they think about it. It also asks about participation in cultural traditions, which could act as a buffer. Malhi and his team will then analyze the DNA samples to see if they can find any evidence of genetic change that tracks with the trauma recorded in the survey. Malhi says they’ll compare what they find to the results of similar studies done with survivors of the Holocaust and the Rwanda genocide.This kind of research is still pretty new, and Malhi says so is the approach. Rather than dropping in on a community, collecting data and leaving, Malhi’s team of scientists is working with Hoonah residents as partners who will give feedback and help direct the research at every step. Starting with what questions to ask and how to ask them.“And when we get results, we’ll come back and provide an update and get some feedback on what the patterns may mean,” Malhi said. “And things that we can’t explain, maybe community members have a good explanation for it.”No samples will be shared with other labs, and SHI and Hoonah representatives will review and edit any papers before they’re published.Malhi says Indigenous communities around the world already have a deep understanding of their own trauma. But genetic evidence of trauma’s impact could be more compelling to Western institutions like state governments or health insurers.“They may not take traditional knowledge as being real, but when scientific knowledge says the same thing, then all of a sudden it becomes real,” Malhi said.Building that scientific knowledge is a long and complicated process, and this is just the beginning. The researchers expect the whole study and analysis to take about eight years, although Worl hopes to share initial findings as soon as next year. “And why do I want to do it? It’s because I think we need to be aware of these kinds of impacts, when we make policy decisions,” said Worl.Worl can see the research informing, for example, the management of subsistence resources. A collapse due to overfishing can be a cultural loss, too.Taking part in a study about your own trauma is heavy work, Worl says, “But yet our people knew that it could be a potential benefit for us. And, you know, I always attribute that to our value system, that we learn from our past to protect our future.”It’s not just history, Worl says. It’s still happening.Hoonah descendants now living in Juneau had the opportunity to participate in the study earlier this month. The researchers are planning a trip to Hoonah in September — aiming for a narrow window between ceremonies and subsistence activities.Share this story:last_img read more

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