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In Brief

September 22nd, 2017 | Staff Report Print this article   Email this article  

ICAS, Ilisaġvik partner for disability education training

By Shady Grove Oliver

The Arctic Sounder

The Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope is partnering with Iḷisaġvik College for a special one-week course focusing on disability education training.

"Our long-range goal is to enrich our community with knowledge that adds to the wealth of Inupiat experience that is shared," said ICAS Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Director Dallas-Lee Brower.

The vocational rehabilitation program is leading the effort, which is geared toward rehabilitation counselors, case managers, nurses, job placement specialists, human service workers, and allied health professionals, among others.

The course is called "Medical and Psychosocial Aspects of Disability," and has been shortened to fit the timeframe.

"This condensed course is designed to prepare students in rehabilitation, allied health, and human service fields in understanding medical and psychosocial consequences of various disabling conditions resulting from congenital deformities, illnesses and injuries," the course description states. "The students will be taught to assess functional abilities, transferable skills, and application of assistive technologies in developing individualized plans of employment leading to better placement outcomes for people with disabilities."

It's being taught by Dr. Madan M. Kundu, who chairs the department of rehabilitation and disability studies at Southern University in Baton Rouge, La.

Organizers note he has more than 40 years in the field and has served as a consultant to the American Indian Rehabilitation Research and Training Center.

Kundu previously brought one of his courses to the North Slope in 2013, also at Iḷisaġvik.

Attendees from across the Arctic are planning to attend, including some participants from as far as Nome, Kiana, and Kotzebue, organizers said.

The course will be taught in Iḷisaġvik College's Dr. Tom Albert Conference Room from Monday, Sept. 25 through Friday, Sept. 29. More information is available through the college or by contacting ICAS's Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

Kotzebue holds Walk for Life

By Shady Grove Oliver

The Arctic Sounder

Recently, dozens of kids and adults alike took to the streets of Kotzebue to affirm their dedication to preserving life for all people and to show compassion and support for those who may be struggling.

Called the Walk for Life, it's an annual event meant to raise awareness about suicide prevention and talk about reasons for living in the community.

"Our region had the highest suicide rate in the state," said former Mayor Siikauraq Martha Whiting, who started the walk during her term in office. "We had to do something to celebrate life, not just have family gatherings after someone passes away."

The first Walks for Life happened on the same day, at the same time, in towns across the Northwest Arctic and throughout the state.

"While they walked in Ambler, we were walking in Selawik, and in Noatak. We knew that as a region, we are all in it together," she said. "We had the North Slope, Bering Straits, Southeast communities as well as Anchorage and Fairbanks all walking, simply to celebrate life."

Now, it's a yearly event, typically held around suicide awareness day in the late summer.

"It's so awesome that our communities are keeping the tradition alive," Whiting said.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, or if you've lost a loved one to suicide and need someone to talk to, there are people out there who can help:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-TALK or The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also has helplines in Spanish and those specifically for military veterans through their main number.

The Veteran's Crisis Line can be reached at 1-800-273-8255, pressing option 1. You can also text 838255 for help, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Alaska CARELINE is available 24 hours a day at 1-877-266-HELP or 907-452-HELP. You can also text 4help to 839863 from 3 p.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. More information can be found at

A 24-hour helpline for members of the LGBTQ+ and LGBTQ+ youth community is 1-866-4-U-TREVOR or or @TrevorProject.

More information and state-by-state resources can be found at You can also find help by calling your local community health center or dialing 911, or by starting a conversation with a friend, family member, or someone you trust.


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