Sunday, October 12, 2014

Native American wellness

During our stay here in Albuquerque, we enjoyed an opportunity to visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. The 19 Pueblos of New Mexico intend the museum to "preserve and perpetuate Pueblo culture and to advance understanding by presenting, with dignity and respect, the accomplishments and evolving history of the Pueblo people of New Mexico."

The exhibits included many arresting examples of native arts and crafts as well as historical artifacts. But I was particularly drawn to the three rooms which describe this people's history and society, imposing their own periodization and outlining a conception of a good community.

I've copied below a panel describing a communal understanding of well-being for all the stages of life. I found it very much worth pondering.

Being healthy means ...
to be able to participate in activities of the Pueblo, both physically and emotionally,
to be physically, mentally, and spiritually secure, living to a ripe age of 90+.
to be there to see your grandchildren and children grow into adults.
to be without excessive worry, fear and stress.
to be happy alone and with others.

Ways our People Stay Healthy:

*Participating in traditional dancing and ceremonies
*Utilizing traditional healing
*Helping out in good times (weddings) and bad times (funerals) in the village
*Chopping wood
*Doing physical chores (housework, yard and ditch cleaning)
*Participating in Senior Olympics
*Working out
*Participating in health programs (classes, health workshops, health events)


"Healing does not take place alone; it takes place in the context of family."

"When we think about our traditional calendar -- the activities that happen that engage the entire community for sometimes week to week, from month to month ... the central purpose of our engagement is all about sustaining a healthy spirit, mind and body as part of that engagement."

"Everything that comes along with participating [in the traditional calendar] is about being a healthy person. If you are in that framework during your daily life, it is not hard to be healthy."

SFIS Leadership Institute 2007

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