It's not uncommon to hear that today's youth are disinterested in the lives, experiences, and support of their parents and Elders. While suicide is often tied to the postcolonial breakdown of intergenerational continuity and mentorship in Inupiaq communities, the prevailing assumption is that kids just don't want to regain this level of communication, contact, and support. 

Yet when asked, many youth from Northwest Alaska are quick to answer that they do want to connect with adults and Elders in their lives. From learning and practicing subsistence activities to having simple talks about school or food or weather, young people are searching for contact and communication across generations, and all that comes with it: knowledge of their culture, history, heritage, and belongingness to communities of care and support that stretch back for generations. 

Crucially, Inupiaq youth cite 'talking with them' as the single most effective thing that can be done to prevent youth suicide. 


References for learning circle 2: The role of adults:

Wexler, L., & Goodwin, B. (2006). Youth and adult community member beliefs about Inupiat youth suicide and its prevention. International journal of circumpolar health, 65(5).