Sealaska Heritage

NEWS_SHI and HIA epigenetics research collaboration continues; community discussion postponed due to covid-19 pandemic

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Oct. 15, 2020

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) and Hoonah Indian Association (HIA) are collaborating on a study exploring the potential biological impact of historical trauma in Alaska Native Peoples and how participation in cultural events may mediate this potential impact.

Recruitment of participants for the project began in 2019 and is being conducted in collaboration with researchers at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

This research is designed to take a community-informed approach, and researchers planned to return to Juneau and Hoonah this year to discuss preliminary results and next steps. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers will be postponing their visit for a year.

“Adhering to our community-based protocols, the results of this research will not be published or discussed with the general public until the research is discussed with the community partners and participants of the project,” said Ripan Malhi, principal investigator and professor of genomic biology at the university.

“We look forward to a time when we can all gather safely together.”

Former press releases on this project can be found: and

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.

CONTACT: Amy Fletcher, SHI Media and Publications Director, 907.586.9116,; Dr. Ripan Malhi,; Dr. Mary Rogers,; or SHI’s Culture and History Director Chuck Smythe at or 907.586.9282.

Caption: Research team. From left: Alida de Flamingh, Rosita Worl, Alyssa Bader, Ripan Malhi, Chuck Smythe, Mary Rogers-LaVanne, and Mason Auger. For a high-resolution image, contact News outlets are welcome to use the image in reports on this story.