Native tribes across Turtle Island share a rich history that have shaped us into the collective people we know in present day. Teachings have been passed down the generations from time immemorable, most of which intertwine the mind, body, and spirit as threads woven together to make a whole. The definition of health is multi-faceted because of the notion of connectedness. The earth is round, the sun is round, our homes (generally speaking) were once shaped in a circle, and many ceremonies are carried out in a circle where there is no beginning a no end- it’s all connected. Indigenous peoples have a unique worldview that differs from the rest of modern-day society because of knowledge carried and shared. We are all related.
Traditional health is an aspect of self-care that truly encompasses everything. There is no physical health if the mind is ill, or the spirit is lacking, or if emotions are not protected and dealt with in a healthy way. Although each nation carries their own teachings, indigenous knowledge is something that keeps us grounded to our roots. It can entail our sacred knowledge of medicines, teas, foods, and harvesting techniques. It can also entail the protocol and ceremonies that go with each of these things. Traditional health can also entail practicing coming-of-age ceremonies, moon-time practices, pregnancy teachings, mother-hood wellbeing, sisterhood/brotherhood support, and community support/practices/ceremonies.
Incorporating traditional health into everyday health is a highly individualized process. Many factors play into how this can look for any given person-how you were raised, what tribe you come from, where you were raised, how accepted you feel from your community, whether you reside in an urban or rural setting, and access to resources. Luckily with modern technology, there are many ways to connect and share teachings with each one another.
A great podcast to listen to is called Well for Culture, hosted by Chelsea Lugar and Thosh Collins. Chelsea and Thosh are an indigenous couple who reside in Arizona. They travel the country speaking at events and sharing their knowledge on living a balanced, healthy lifestyle that incorporates native practices in everyday life. They speak on fitness, traditional foods, how they navigate raising their own children and indigenous parenting. In essence, this couple is a fantastic resource and awesome role-models in incorporating traditional care health in present day. – Tashina Racine