Practitioner of Traditional Medicine Stresses Personal Responsibility

Dr. Ted Mala (Photo Courtesy of Kristin Helvey, Southcentral Foundation)

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Ted Mala grew up in a family that covered a broad career spectrum – from medicine people to movie stars.

Dr Mala is the son of Alaska Native movie star Ray Mala and before he became the first Alaska Native to attend medical school and return to Alaska to practice, he learned about traditional medicine from relatives in the region of his childhood home in Buckland.

He believes deeply in the power of traditional healing, but he also makes a clear distinction between it and shamanism.

Dr Mala recently retired from medicine after more than 40 years.


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Lori Townsend is the news director and senior host for Alaska Public Media. You can send her program ideas for Talk of Alaska and Alaska Insight at or call 907-350-2058.

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