Thunderbird Partnership Foundation

A Whole and Healthy Indigenous Person

Throughout our work, we have asked the question what it means to be a whole and healthy person.  What do we need to believe in order to support our own wellness through Indigenous culture?  These are some of the answers we have collected.

  • There is “good” in life (in the world) – mino-bimaudiziwin.
  • There is a Creator at the source of life; so, there is purpose and meaning.
  • The Creator cares, therefore, we have a caring relationship with the source of life.
  • We have the attention, help and guidance from the Creator.
  • Every part of Creation has spirit and personhood which means we are related in a personal and purposeful way to all of Creation. All of life is sacred.
  • The Creator desired to be, to become, to enliven, to live; that is why he created – the same desire is inherent within us as human beings.
  • We are predisposed to care and to share unconditionally.
  • In all of life there is duality (spiritual and physical, heart and mind, etc.).
  • In life there is the twin (opposite spirit); so, life is about making good choices.
  • The ability to live a good life, a meaningful and purposeful life, is through the connection and interconnection of body, mind, heart and spirit.
  • There is a spirit essence, an energy, that you can call up from inside yourself or from outside yourself for guidance, direction and for healing.
  • We are able to personally connect to the spirit
  • There is forever life; so, there is a continuous spiritual path of life from spirit to spirit again.
  • We are connected to and are able to connect to our ancestors.

Spiritual Values

A Whole and Healthy Indigenous Person

  • Embraces and lives by the essential Indigenous values of life (e.g. knowing that the Seven Grandfather teachings are within us)
      • Zawgi’idiwin, Love
      • Mawnawdjiwin, Respect
      • Dubuhsaynimowin, Humility
      • Zongidayaywin, Bravery
      • Gwuyukawjiwin, Honesty
      • Debwewin, Truth
      • Gawdjigikayndumowin, Wisdom.
  • Has belief and faith in the fundamental value and goodness of life and demonstrates this by expressing and actualizing it in behaviours and manner of living.

For example:

  • Always seeking wellness and well-being
  • Having confidence in culture, values and traditions
  • Having an innate and observable connection and good relationship with the land, creation and to the spirit
  • Love of self
  • Respect for oneself and others
  • Has a connection/respectful relationship to future and the past on the path-of-life continuum (respect/connection to new life/those yet unborn and elders/ancestors)
  • Has a preference for and fostering of an atmosphere and environment of inclusion, reciprocity, acceptance, trust and peace


Relationship with the Earth Mother, Creation, Spirit and the ancestors, a whole and healthy Indigenous person is one who has a connection to the Earth, which means a connection to the heart and energy of healing, engendering a feeling of belonging, of being loved and a perception of one’s wholeness.  This is felt in the following ways:

  • Knowing you are never alone in the world.
  • Feeling personally connected to the earth, anywhere, in our part of the world.
  • Feeling of being lovingly bonded to the earth and that one’s spirit is tethered to the physical world.
  • Comforting awareness that one can use energy from the earth to heal.
  • Has a relationship within an all-inclusive family of Creation (as expressed in the concept All My Relations) that is personal, reciprocal, healing and strengthening of Anishinabe identity.

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