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Governor Pledges to Partner with John Baker and Sivulliqsi Program


November 2, 2014, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell today announced his administration will work the Sivulliqsi Program in Northwest Alaska. Like the Alakanuk Wellness Program in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, the program is culturally based.

The Sivulliqsi Program, founded in 2008 by Iditarod Champion John Baker, works closely with the youth in the Northwest Arctic Borough to help improve their quality of life. Baker hopes the program will extend across Alaska.

“Our Alaska youth are critically important to our state’s future. We will stand with them, and it takes champions like John Baker to show how to help meet the needs of rural Alaska youth,” Governor Parnell said. “This fits so well into the efforts to spread the message of Choose Respect far and wide across Alaska. We will work with the program and identify where the state can help with the grassroots program.”

Both the Alakanuk Wellness Program and the Sivulliqsi Program focus on culturally relevant strategies to promote community wellness, reduce suicide and substance abuse, support cultural exchange between indigenous people of Alaska, and develop leadership attributes in the next generation.

The Sivulliqsi Program will work closely with the local Native tribal entities and city governments, as well as regional and statewide entities, to implement wellness coalitions in ways unique to each community.

“I appreciate Governor Parnell’s commitment to this program that will make a difference in many lives in rural Alaska,” John Baker said. “I look forward to working with his administration on this important program.”

Sivulliqsi is the Inupiat word for “lead dog.” Using a structure that is well supported by local, state, and federal agencies, the wellness coalitions will develop into long-lasting programs, Governor Parnell said.

The first year of the project will focus on growing participation across the region. The second year will focus on finding sister villages for the existing coalitions to mentor in growing their own chapter of the wellness coalition.

The third year will build long-term program sustainability in each participating community.

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