• Changes in traditional gender roles for Alaska Natives: their effects on sense of purpose, direction, identity, and family and community stature

      Wirts, Eleanor Kyle (2010-08)
      "In the past century, especially since the 1960s, Alaska Natives have faced rapid cultural and socio-economic change as Western influences have increasingly infiltrated the Native life-ways; since the 1960s social problems, including alcohol abuse, violence, and suicide have plagued Native individuals, families and communities. Arguably, a source of these social problems is the striking shift from clearly defined gender roles for Native adults that guided youth to adulthood in the past to opaque and ambiguous roles for adults that draw on both traditional and Western cultures. Historically, clearly defined gender roles provided youth with the role models necessary for maturing into healthy, productive adults and thereby offered youth a sense of purpose, direction and identity. Today's youth must look for cues in both traditional and Western culture to envision their futures, and with often conflicting value systems and too few strong adult role models to follow, many youth, especially males, are floundering. Healthy adult and elder role models are essential to the well-being of Native youth as they mature into adulthood. The revitalization of mentors, role models and close relationships between adults and youth are critical to future health and well-being of Alaska Native individuals, families and communities"--Leaf iii