Norton Sound Health Corporation

Tribal Healer Program

NSHC established the Tribal Healer Program in 1997 in recognition of the value and importance of traditional health care practices. The Tribal Healer Program provides patients a culturally-based alternative to some modern therapies.

These methods, indigenous to the Bering Strait region, were provided only by healers naturally skilled in helping with their hands. Tribal healers massage sore muscles and joints, manipulate some internal organs and provide other traditional health care remedies.

Etta Tall (left) and Maria Dexter

Message from Maria Dexter:

The Tribal Healer Program was opened up again in 2004. I began seeing patients in 2006 after training under the Tribal Doctor Program at Maniilaq in Kotzebue. Etta Tall was hired in May 2011 and continues to train monthly under the Tribal Doctors at Kotzebue.

The Tribal Healer Program is a “hands on” treatment of the muscular/circulatory system of the tissues of the body. We also do deeper tissue massages when necessary. We also work on the digestive system of the the abdominal section of body. We do recommend to the patient some of our local plants that have been used by our elders before us for medicinal purposes. Etta Tall makes her own medicine with plants from this region and is very successful in doing so.

We also travel to villages within the Bering Straits Region who have requested our services or by referral and appointment only at our new workroom located in the Primary Care department of the Norton Sound Regional Hospital.

Our office hours are Monday - Friday 9:00am - 4:00pm, please feel free to call and schedule an appointment:

Tribal Healer Program:
Maria Dexter: (907) 443-9619 or
Etta Tall: (907) 443-6410 or