• Balancing life: perceptions and practices of health among young adult Yup'ik women

      Ebsen, Cecilie R.; Plattet, Patrick; Schweitzer, Peter; Rasmus, Stacey (2014-08)
      Ten years ago CANHR (Center for Alaska Native Health Research) asked Yup'ik men and women of all ages how they would define health and wellness; that is, what it means to be well and happy. The answers were largely centered on living a subsistence lifestyle, eating subsistence foods and respecting natural spirits and lands. Today a new generation of young Yup'ik women has emerged. A generation that has grown up in villages and cities with storebought food available next to subsistence food, TV, and Internet. In this study young adult Yup'ik women's perceptions of health and their use of dancing as a practice of health are investigated. This study looks at how this new generation of young adult Yup'ik women understand health. Young adult Yup'ik women's perceptions and practices of health, such as dancing, are examined to determine what these women consider important to stay healthy and how the notion of health itself can be understood. Ideas of what it means to the subjects comprising the study population to be healthy are crucial to understand before conducting any kind of health research. How people interpret, navigate and understand the very notion of health must be uncovered in order to work with them on any and all health issues. As such the notion of health cannot and should not be conceptionalized as the mere presence or absence of disease but includes instead a wide network of social, spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional factors. Consequently, this study approaches health from a holistic perspective implementing a wide network of factors in the investigation of young, adult, Yup'ik women's perceptions and practices of health.