Native communities across Alaska are seeking a key to understanding the epidemic of suicide. The film screened Tuesday last week during the First Alaskans Institute 2017 Elders and Youth Conference held prior to the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention in Anchorage last week.
“I don’t know if the gravity really is hitting everybody, but we’ve been arguing for recognition since statehood, and under this administration the attorney general has provided an opinion that, yes, tribes do exist, that we have inherent sovereignty,” said Richard Peterson, president of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska.
It aims to preserve Alaska Native culture by giving tribes and tribal organizations the ability to oversee local child welfare problems, rather than social workers coming in from outside their communities. That often results in children being removed from their communities.
Dressed in full Gwich’in regalia, Potts recounted growing up in a modest dirt-floor hunting cabin in Eagle, losing someone close to suicide, and taking the conventions theme of strength in unity to get back to enjoying life again.