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As we have learned in this class cultural continuity is key for Indigenous Peoples to heal and flourish in their

As we have learned in this class cultural continuity is key for Indigenous Peoples to heal and flourish in their health. The Traditional Models of Wellness are a great start to incorporate into not only health care policy development, but in other policy areas such as, youth education and recreation. The Traditional Wellness Indicators touch on cultural sharing, connection with the land, healing circles, involvement of youth and Elders, being active and eating healthy, having drug- and alcohol-free mentors, and support from community leaders.
These indicators all remind me of something striking Chelsea Vowel said in her lecture in Week 7. Vowel briefly mentioned the Boy Scouts being a flourishing organization supporting primarily white North American boys on survival training, nature exploration, and general wellness and recreation (UWinnipeg, 2017). Now imagine, Indigenous boys participating in a type of Boy Scouts organization that focuses on all of the Traditional Wellness Indicators. They begin learning from Elders and mentors how to fish, gather medicines, drum, speak their language, how to live off the land, and create a life rooted in traditional Indigenous ways. An organization for boys and girls focusing on Indigenous lifestyle from childhood would be so beneficial in preserving Indigenous culture, language and ceremony while improving the health of Indigenous populations for future generations.
To incorporate these indicators into policy development there needs to be genuine communication between the Indigenous communities, the policymakers, and facilitators of a policy. Each Indigenous community knows what would work for their own community. There is never a one size fits all approach when implementing policy for Indigenous communities as Indigenous communities are not homogeneous. There is a need for formal committees or structures including Indigenous community leaders and Elders during the entire policy development process to ensure that the right needs are being met.
To evaluate a public policy for its effectiveness we need to look at the intermediate effects. These would expose the underlying cause and effect mediators between the policy and our goal. To do so we need to utilize a logic model. This allows us to specify what are the intermediate effects which lead to our goal. This will enable us to easily identify the specific lapses in our policy and find a solution quicker. Information needs to be gathered in all aspects throughout policy implementation. Gathering data on the prevalence and incidence of chronic illness, suicide, and substance abuse, participation in cultural ceremony and languages, knowledge on traditional ways of life, and general community surveys about the policy effectiveness is essential. The more information gathered, the better the policy can become and evolve to actually work for every Indigenous community.
As I mentioned before, Indigenous communities are heterogenous. We need to keep formal committees or structures of Indigenous leaders and Elders in the community so we can receive firsthand knowledge of what is and what is not working in regards to a policy. You will notice communication between policymakers, facilitators, and Indigenous communities is paramount in ensuring the success of a policy.

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