The Qasgiq Model for Alaska Native Suicide and Alcohol Abuse Prevention

June 07, 2019
News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark Research

The Qasgiq Model is a strengths-based community intervention that uses Yup’ik Alaska Native indigenous knowledge to reduce youth risk for suicide and alcohol abuse. To create the model, university researchers met with official tribal and community leaders to share scientific innovations and research, and explore synergies with the community’s cultural strengths and protective factors.

In the Qasgiq Model, the community first centers itself around the shared goal of contributing to youth well-being. The local implementation team identifies the cultural teachings and activities for youth that are most appropriate to the season, location, and status of the community and selects members of the community to provide instruction and teachings for the activities. The team then reflects on how well the instruction and activities worked, and how they might be improved in the future.

The model displays four characteristics common to indigenous interventions in that it: (1) maintains indigenous control, (2) is based on an indigenous cultural model of change, (3) uses indigenous theory-driven intervention implementation, and (4) takes an indigenous approach to knowledge development.

Researchers and indigenous communities benefit from working together to create culturally informed and locally sustainable strategies to promote health and well-being. The Qasgiq model provides a framework for structuring indigenous public health interventions.

Rasmus, S. M., Trickett, E., Charles, B., John, S., & Allen, J. (2019). The Qasgiq model as an indigenous intervention: Using the cultural logic of contexts to build protective factors for Alaska Native suicide and alcohol misuse prevention. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 25(1), 44–54.

Spark Extra! Watch a webinar on promoting connectedness in American Indian and Alaska Native communities through culture.

Populations:  Youth, Racial and Ethnic Groups, American Indians and Alaska Natives
Settings:  American Indian/Alaska Native Settings, Communities
About Suicide:  Behavioral Health Disorders, Substance Abuse, Risk and Protective Factors
Planning and Implementing:  Culturally Based Practices, Cultural Competence