First Nations Health Authority Appendix C First Nations Perspective on Wellness
Main purpose of the model
The First Nations Perspective on Wellness is intended to be used as a tool for both internal and external stakeholders in order to create a shared understanding of the holistic vision of wellness shared by BC First Nations. It can be the basis for planning work and/or used to create shared understanding. As well it can be used as a stand-alone visual, or used by individuals and/or communities to develop their own holistic model of wellness. This is a living document and will be modified with further community engagement.
Responsibility Relationships Wisdom Respect Community Nations Family Land Cultural Economic Environmental Social Emotional Mental Physical SpiritualHUMANBEING49 Traditional Wellness Strategic Framework| First Nations Health Authority Symbolism Meaning
This model has been derived from a holistic perspective and the medicine wheel. The basis of this model is to achieve health and wellness by taking a look at and nurturing the internal and external factors that affect wellbeing. Many of these concepts are based on traditional knowledge.
Although the model appears in layers, it is important to acknowledge that all the words in each circle are interconnected with each other, and with the components of other circles. In addition, all the circles themselves are connected and responsible for each other. Ultimately, all of these factors are important and need balance to achieve wellness.
Centre Circle (Core of wellness)
The Centre Circle represents the human being taking responsibility for their own health and wellness with a strong sense of self-identity and self esteem. Everything originates at the centre, and it is with one’s self, that the journey of wellness begins. The broader context that an individual lives in (e.g. one’s community and larger society) also effects decisions, actions, and choices.
Second Circle (Aspects of Wellness)
This circle illustrates the Mental, Emotional, Spiritual and Physical dimensions that are necessary for a healthy, well, and balanced life. It is critically important that there is balance between these dimensions of wellness and that they are all nurtured in tandem to create a holistic level of well-being, one in which all four areas are strong and healthy. Examples of wellbeing:
When looking at mental wellbeing, consider looking at career satisfaction and stress management. When looking at emotional wellbeing, it is important to nurture relationships and identify support networks. When looking at spiritual wellbeing, it is important to nurture the spirit, whether it is through culture, language, ceremonies, religion or the creative arts, such as writing, drumming, dancing or drawing. When looking at physical wellbeing, consider nutrition, physical activity, and weight management. 50 Traditi ona l Wellness Strat egic Fram ework| First Nations Health Authority
Third Circle (Values of Wellness)
The third circle represents the overarching values that support and uphold wellness: Respect, Wisdom, Responsibility, and Relationships. These four values need to be acknowledged when honouring yourself and others.
Respect:• Respect is honouring where you come from, your culture, your traditions, and yourself. It is intergenerational, and is passed on through ones community and family. It is the driving force of the community because it impacts all of our life experiences, including our relationships, our health, and our work. It is defined as consideration for and appreciation for others, but there is recognition that respect is so much more in First Nations communities – it entails a much higher standard of care, consideration, appreciation and honour and is fundamental to the health and wellbeing of our people. There is an intuitive aspect to respect, because it involves knowing how to be with oneself and with others.
Wisdom:• Wisdom includes knowledge of language, traditions, teachings, culture, and medicine. Like respect, wisdom is passed on by our ancestors from generation to generation. It is sacred in nature and includes honouring your spirit and sharing your knowledge with others.
Responsibility:• Every person has responsibility to self, families, communities, and the land. Responsibility extends not just to those that we come into contact with or relate to – but also to the roles we play within our families, our work, and our experiences in the world. There is also a mutual accountability and reciprocity aspect to responsibility. Responsibility intersects with so many areas of our lives, and involves maintaining a healthy and balanced life and leadership through modelling healthy behaviour and wellness.
Relationships:• Relationships are what sustain us. Relationships and responsibility go hand in hand. Like responsibility, relationships involve mutual accountability and reciprocity. Relationships are about togetherness, team-building, partnerships, capacity building, nurturing, sharing, strength, and love. It is recognized that Relationships need to be maintained strongly within oneself as well as with those around you. 51 Traditi ona l Wellness Strat egic Fram ework| First Nations Health Authority
Fourth Circle (Relationships for Wellness)
The fourth circle depicts the people that surround us and the places where we come from: Nations, Family, Community, and Land. You, the individual, need to build healthy relationships and responsibilities within these areas, which will provide the foundation for health and wellness.
Land:• The land is what sustains us physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. We use the land for hunting, fishing, and gathering. The land is about where you come from, including your territory and is the basis of our identity. It is more than just the earth. It includes all living and non-living things such as: water, the air, fire, food, medicines, animals, all plants and trees, the mountains, and our ancestors. We have a responsibility to care for the land and to share that knowledge with our people. Land and health are closely intertwined because land is the ultimate nurturer of people. It provides physical sustenance but also provides emotional and spiritual sustenance because it inspires you and provides beauty; it nurtures your soul.
Community:• Community represents the people where we live, where we come from, and where we work. There are many different ways to view community: community of place, community of knowledge, interest, experience, and values. It is important to recognize that these all have a role in our health.
Family:• Our family is our support base, and is where we come from and includes our languages and culture. There are many different kinds of families that surround us, including our immediate and extended families, our ancestors, those who we care for and who care for us, our support system, or traditional systems in addition to or instead of simply blood lines. It is important to recognize the diversity that exists across British Columbia, that there are different family systems that exist, e.g. matrilineal.
Nations:• This Nation includes the broader community outside the immediate and extended family, and community. In essence, Nation is an inclusive term representing the various Nations that comprise one’s world.52 Traditi ona l Wellness Strat egic Fram ework| First Nations Health Authority
Fifth Circle (Determinants of Wellness)
The fifth circle depicts the Social, Cultural, Economic and Environmental determinants of our health and well-being. These determinants affect our health and wellbeing and it is our responsibility as an individual and as a collective to ensure these determinants are available and protected.
Social: • Social determinants, such as security, housing, food, prevention, promotion, education, health awareness, outreach supports, are all critical aspects of our health and well-being.
Environmental: • The environment, including the land, air, water, food, housing, and other resources, need to be taken care of and considered in order to sustain healthy children, families and communities. Safety and emergency preparedness are critical components.
Cultural: • Culture means language, spirituality, ceremonies, traditional foods and medicines, teachings, and a sense of belonging.
Economic:• Economic means resources, which we have a responsibility to manage, share, and sustain for future generations. There is a need to create balance in how we use our resources and good leadership to help us create this balance. Economic can include our employment and our workplace health.
The people in the outer circle represent the vision of strong children, families, Elders, and people in communities. The people are holding hands to demonstrate togetherness, respect and relationships, which in the words of a respected BC Elder can be stated as "one heart, one mind." Children are included in the drawing because they are the heart of our communities and they connect us to who we are and to our health.
The colours of the sunset were chosen specifically to reflect the whole spectrum of sunlight, as well as to depict the sun’s rotation around the earth, which governs the cycles of life in BC First Nations communities.
This First Nations Perspective on Wellness was developed as a DRAFTconcept by the FNHATraditional Wellness Working Group and FNHA staff and advisors which included: Dr Georgia Kyba (Naturopathic Physician Advisory); Susan Timmerman (HR); Haike Muller (Health Actions); Trish Osterberg (FNHC Secretariat); Allison Twiss (Health Actions); Anita Finney (Corporate Services); Jean Allbeury (Health Actions); Karlene Harvey (Communications). 53 Traditi onal Wellness Strategic Framework| First Nations Health Authority
The model was presented at Gathering Wisdom V in which participants where encouraged to provide feedback. This feedback was incorporated into the final model and description in collaboration with the following FNHA staff and advisors: Dr Georgia Kyba (Traditional Wellness Advisor); Dr Sarah Williams (Senior Advisor); Lloy Wylie (Senior Advisor); Haike Muller (Health Actions); and Davis McKenzie (Communications).
Development of this vision began at the July 2011 staff retreat when the Traditional Wellness Working Group presented a conceptual model of wellness for the organization. Since the very beginning, the FNHAhas recognized the need to create a visual depiction of wellness along with a description of how this model aligns with the overall vision of the FNHA, which is: Healthy, Self-Determining and Vibrant BC First Nations Children, Families and Communities. There is a need to solidify a common understanding of wellness, as this will more clearly define how the FNHAwill carry out this vision for internal and external stakeholders.
At the July 2011 staff retreat, FNHA staff had an opportunity to consider what wellness means to them. Adraft conceptual visual was presented with the understanding that the visual was intended to serve as a template for discussion, not as a final product or depiction, and that it is meant to be a living document that may evolve over time as the organization transitions and incorporates more fully the perspectives of communities.
In November, 2011, a call was put out to staff asking if they would like to be involved in development of the vision of wellness. In December, 2011, staff met to begin initial discussions on the vision. These discussions were in essence a brainstorming session that focused on the main aspects of wellness and the values representing wellness. The result of this discussion was a circle with several layers, which included an inner circle depicting the main aspects of wellness –emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical. Asecond meeting was held in February 2012 to finalize the visual representation and to describe the values and their relevance to the overall vision. The model was presented at Gathering Wisdom V for community feedback. Community feedback was incorporated June 2012 and the final visual representation and description was completed in September 2012.
The end result is the visual model and description, which can serve as a starting point for discussion with and potential use by the FNHA staff and First Nations communities on what they conceptualize as a vision of wellness for the FNHA.