December 01 2011
The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) recently hired Ken O. Hoyt to manage the WISEFAMILIES Through Customary and Traditional Living program in Wrangell. Hoyt’s office will be located in the SNO Building, 325 Front St., in Wrangell. His phone number is 874-2712 and fax number is 874-2713.
WISEFAMLIES program participants learn how to harvest and preserve traditional subsistence foods, learn Tlingít language, story-telling and other traditional activities such as carving and weaving. These traditional activities improve overall health and wellness, and research shows that a diet full of traditional foods can be a good way to prevent many chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. The WISEFAMILIES program in Wrangell is funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Ken is well qualified and is extremely interested in traditional foods and culture. We think he will be a great asset for the program,” said Martha Pearson, program coordinator for the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health program that provides support to the WISEFAMILIES program. “We look forward to seeing the traditional foods program continue successfully in Wrangell.”
Hoyt grew up in Bellingham, Wash., but he frequently visited family in Wrangell and he looks forward to being able to reconnect with his Tlingít culture. His paternal grandmother from Wrangell is Henrietta “Hankie” Bradley-Hoyt, and his mother was adopted by Esther Shea of the Kaats’ Hít. Hoyt is Eagle/Brown Bear, Taant’a Kwáan Teikweidí Kaats’ Hít, and he is a child of the Shxat’ Kwáan Kiks.ádi. He is a member of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and the Shxat’ Kwáan Dancers.
“A lot of us Down South Tlingíts don’t go a day without thinking about the motherland,” Hoyt said. “I am overjoyed to be working for such an important institution as SEARHC and I’m thrilled to have a chance to make a solid contribution to the Wrangell community. In many ways, this job is a homecoming and an opportunity to give back.”
Hoyt is finishing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Native American studies this year from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. While in school, Hoyt participated in the Sealaska Summer Internship in Guadalajara, Mexico, and he served as coordinator of the Native Student Alliance at Evergreen State College.
He is interested in holistic health and how people can increase community health by working on its totality (physical, spiritual, mental, psychological, social). He also is interested in Native culture and tradition as good medicine. In addition, Hoyt enjoys health and fitness (weightlifting, runing, biking, hiking, sobriety), reading and Native culture, Tlingít dancing and song.