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

Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2019 Jan;25(1):44-54. doi: 10.1037/cdp0000243.


Objectives: The foundational role culture and Indigenous knowledge (IK) occupy within community intervention in American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities is explored. To do this, we define community or complex interventions, then critically examine ways culture is translated into health interventions addressing AIAN disparities in existing programs and research initiatives. We then describe an Indigenous intervention based in the cultural logic of its contexts, as developed by Alaska Native communities. Yup'ik coauthors and knowledge keepers provided their critical and theoretical perspectives and understandings to the overall narrative, constructing from their IK system an argument that culture is prevention.

Conclusions: The intervention, the Qungasvik (phonetic: koo ngaz vik; "tools for life") intervention, is organized and delivered through a Yup'ik Alaska Native process the communities term qasgiq (phonetic: kuz gik; "communal house"). We describe a theory of change framework built around the qasgiq model and explore ways this Indigenous intervention mobilizes aspects of traditional Yup'ik cultural logic to deliver strengths-based interventions for Yup'ik youth. This framework encompasses both an IK theory-driven intervention implementation schema and an IK approach to knowledge production. This intervention and its framework provide a set of recommendations to guide researchers and Indigenous communities who seek to create Indigenously informed and locally sustainable strategies for the promotion of health and well-being. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / ethnology
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Adolescent Development
  • Alaska Natives / psychology*
  • Alcoholism / ethnology
  • Alcoholism / prevention & control*
  • Community-Based Participatory Research / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Protective Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Suicide / ethnology
  • Suicide Prevention*
  • Translating