Karen Mitchell is the Behavioral Health Aide in Noatak, a small village in the Northwest Arctic. Twenty-five years ago, as she stared out the window of her home there, such a future seemed impossible.
Solving community problems can be hard, unless you tap into the power of collaboration. This is how Chickaloon does it.
Fifty years ago, Alaska had a really big problem: it was hard to get medical care in small, rural communities. To solve it, the Indian Health Service worked with local governments and Congress to create the Community Health Aide Program. And it's still making communities healthier.
One way to make money in a slow economy is to fill a gap in the market. But a local spice blend company is doing more than building bank accounts--it's also connecting people with Native dishes in a new way. Kunniak's Spices pairs flavors like lemon, garlic and ghost pepper with Alaska Native dishes like Maktak.
The path to recovery from drug or alcohol addiction can be long, arduous, and isolating. Now people in the Mat-Su Valley have a new place to start the journey -- and guides to help them along the way.
Alcohol abuse is an issue throughout the country, even in areas where it's illegal. Banning alcohol doesn't always solve the problem, so should communities try swinging the other way and make it more available? Could opening a liquor store help a community, not harm it? The village of Kiana is finding out – and reviews are mixed.
What makes a healthy community? What makes young people in an Alaska village thrive? Here's the formula that's working well for Noatak, in the Northwest Arctic.