Dr. GAry Ferguson
Healthy Communities Consultant
Guiding individuals and organizations in positive directions
[Winter Sunset in Venetie, Alaska. Photo by Dr. Gary Ferguson]
I was honored to be a guest at the Shitsuu Myra Roberts Venetie Health Clinic Grand Opening this week. The clinic is named after Myra Roberts, a Midwife/Traditional Healer in Venetie, who delivered many babies in the community. Her legacy in the babies she helped bring into the world along with her own grandchildren and great-grand children were in the audience, as we gathered together in the lobby of the clinic. Wise words were spoken by elders, leaders in the community about the importance of wellness, health and taking care of your family. Traditional healing was mentioned with the rich history of healing traditions of the Gwich'in Athabascan People - from ceremonies to healing plants, ways. Being pro-active in your health by using local medicines and ceremonies helps avoid "emergencies," one elder mentioned. The wise traditions of the First People of Alaska are a rich source of healing. They are in synergy with my work as a Naturopathic Physician, as I too am a life-long learner of the local medicines and ways of our People. I believe culturally-based medicine is a priority in the Alaska Tribal Health System - as we address the health challenges that exist in our community.