The cultural committee of MSRCASC has been very active since the reopening of the college. A college education experience offers the student, not only academic and social opportunities, but also a variety of other experiences as well. Lectures, seminars, get-togethers, cultural festivals, social campus events, volunteer/community activities, conferences and career fairs, are some opportunities available to students today to network and create opportunities for themselves. These events further result into social and professional relationships with their contacts from the cultural event so that both can forge a win-win relationship among them.
Not only does participating in cultural activities benefit you in multiple ways, but it also benefits your family and your community!
When you participate in activities like Yup’ik dancing or moose hunting, you are physically active. Regular physical activity is well known for its benefits to your body – and will help keep a number of diseases and health problems at bay. Consuming cultural or traditional foods also has major benefits. Foods like Agutak and seal oil have some of the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids of any foods in the world; wild berries and greens are often rich in nutritious vitamins and antioxidants; and, wild Alaska game is some of the healthiest meat to be consumed. Foods and plants traditionally eaten by Alaska Native people, such as devil’s club and sea asparagus, are now being studied for their remarkable healing and nutritional properties.
Mental health benefits
Connection with culture is known to be a major factor in reducing the risk of mental health illnesses like depression and addictive behaviors. More studies come out each year showing people with a stronger connection to family and culture are much less likely to have problems with suicide, depression and substance abuse.
While spiritual practices vary from region to region and person to person, Alaska Native people, in general, practice a holistic approach to hunting and gathering. Gratitude for what has been given and earned, sharing, respect for the natural world and honoring those who teach us are part of most traditional Alaska Native activities and encourage the wellness of the whole person.
The combination of participating in traditions passed down from generation to generation, physical activity, increased mental health and engaging with others is a recipe for great emotional health. Talking and other social activities are already known to increase endorphins, resulting in a better mood – by adding a cultural element, you can increase your satisfaction and happiness.
To view the cultural committee reports