With More Money On Hand, ONC Prepares To Expand Community Services

Credit KYUK

Going into the new year, the Orutsararmiut Native Traditional Council is going to be operating with more money, which means more services for members.

Last fall, ONC received three big federal grants to help the tribal organization expand its efforts to use Yup'ik traditions to deal with issues like Elder care, mental health, domestic violence, and suicide. ONC Executive Director Peter Evon likes that direction.

"We get told almost every day that we need to stick with and try to incorporate our older generational activities. The older mindset of our Yup’ik traditions, of our values, and I think that’s the right way to do it out here," Evon said. 

One grant is for $1.2 million. That came from the U.S. Department of Health and Social Services under their Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The grant will help ONC start programs to “reduce vulnerability to suicide” for Yup’ik teenagers and young adults. Evon says that more details about those programs will come out later this year.

"What it does is it just gives money toward activities, funding for activities, snowmachines and stuff that we can bring the vulnerable, usually the teenage and young adult demographic, basically to where we can give them something to do, something to look forward to to help them deal with mental health," Evon said. 

A second grant of close to $500,000 is to staff a partnership with the Tundra Women’s Coalition to deal with domestic violence. That grant came from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women. Alaska Native women are particularly vulnerable to domestic violence, and Evon says that this grant will give TWC more resources.

TWC Executive Director Eileen Arnold wrote in an email that the $449,558 grant will last three years and help fund one full-time position at ONC and one part-time position at TWC.

And finally, ONC received more than $300,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Social Services' Administration for Community Living. That one, Evon says, will help it provide more services for its Elders in the upcoming year.