Ancient Alaska Native healing techniques will soon supplement modern-day treatments for mental health ailments afflicting Alaskans returning from service in the Middle East.
Many Alaska National Guard soldiers come from isolated villages. Few have doctors; fewer yet have mental health professionals.
So traditional healers like Kenny Timberwolf will use talking circles, steam houses and subsistence hunts to help Native soldiers relieve their stress.
"Honoring them and welcoming them home as a veteran isn't enough," said Kenny Timberwolf, an Alaska Native shaman. "It has to go a lot deeper."
[FONT=times new roman,times]Tribal doctor Rita Blumenstein, left, passes the eagle feather to Ossie Kairaiuak so he can talk during a talking circle at the Southcentral Foundation Traditional Healing Clinic in Anchorage.
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Timberwolf said like others, some Native veterans will have problems readjusting to life at home when they return in October, and Bush communities, because of their extreme isolation, need to start preparing now for their arrival.
"That lingering feeling of being in combat is going to be there," he said.