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      "We Raise our Grandchildren as our Own:" Alaska Native Grandparents Raising Grandchildren in Southwest Alaska.

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          This study explores continuity and change in the roles of rural Alaska Native grandparents, describing their importance in contemporary Yup'ik social life and structure. The study is distinctive in its focus on the experiences of Yup'ik grandparents who are primary caregivers raising their grandchildren in Southwest Alaska. Qualitative data were gathered using a semi-structured interview from 20 Yup'ik grandparents, ages 46 to 95, who raised their grandchildren as the primary caregiver for at least one year. Content analysis was used to establish a culturally grounded understanding of the role of a grandparent raising grandchildren and meanings of these roles to Yup'ik grandparents. Findings reveal areas of continuity and change in the role and place of grandparents in Yup'ik families and communities. Important continuities persist in the role of Yup'ik grandparents, who continue to be a vital resource within their families and communities. As in the past, the grandparent role is essential in passing down cultural knowledge, upholding traditional Yup'ik values and teachings, and facilitating development of a strong and healthy cultural identity among youth. However, significant change has taken place within Yup'ik communities as a result of Western colonization. Grandparent roles are also shifting and expanding as a result of these changes, as part of an adaptive community response to ensure the safety and well-being of youth during times of great change and disruption.

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          Author and article information

          J Cross Cult Gerontol
          Journal of cross-cultural gerontology
          Springer Science and Business Media LLC
          Sep 2018
          : 33
          : 3
          [1 ] UAA WWAMI School of Medical Education, 3211 Providence Drive, HSB 301, Anchorage, AK, 99508, USA. jplewis@alaska.edu.
          [2 ] Center for Alaska Native Health Research, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA.
          [3 ] Department of Biobehavioral Health & Population Sciences, University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus, Duluth, MN, USA.
          [4 ] Human Development and Family Science, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA.


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