‘Well for Culture’ Founders Lead Workshop at Cahokia
Gila River Indian News
Eighteen people participated in an interactive workshop on Indigenous wellness from 1-4 p.m. April 29 at Cahokia Socialtech + Artspace in downtown Phoenix. It was hosted by founders of ‘Well for Culture’ and co-authors of the book The Seven Circles: Indigenous Teachings for Living Well by Chelsey Lugar (Lakota and Ojibwe) and her husband Thosh Collins (Onk-Akimel O’odham, Wa-Zha-Zhi, and Haudenosaunee).
‘Well For Culture’ was founded in 2013 by Collins and Lugar to share teachings through social media in order to bridge a gap in Indigenous health while reclaiming former lifestyles of indigeneity.
“We needed to create something—a model that’s more comprehensive and easier to understand,” Collins said. In the introduction to The Seven Circles workshop, he asked participants, “What were the aspects in our original pre-colonial culture that allowed our ancestors to thrive in the environments that they did and survive colonialism?”
The Seven Circles: Indigenous Teachings for Living Well provides a template for attaining wellness by integrating Native philosophies and practices. The seven circles, which include Movement, Land, Community, Ceremony, Sacred Space, Sleep and Food, are defined and serve as a helpful guide for individuals looking to enhance their overall well-being.
The goal is for individuals to read all seven elements and incorporate them into their wellness journeys as best as they can. All seven elements connect to the larger circle that hosts spiritual, emotional, mental and physical wellness. Most of these teachings reference those of Lakota, Ojibwe, O’odham and Haudenosaunee.
Chelsey and Thosh started the event by asking participants to form a circle and practice a combination of meditation and movement.
Then the group created a ‘Food Circle’ and the participants were served a traditional hanam (cholla bud) salad and venison soup. Next, the organizers provided writing materials to guide the participants through the seven circles, where they shared their connections and definitions of each teaching mentioned.
“I’ve just been feeling a lot of mind-body disconnection…,” stated DeAngela, a Seven Circles participant who didn’t give her last name. “I was just really looking to help find ways to support my own internal strength building, along with fitness and food, with all the seven elements that they brought in today, so to do this in person was an incredible experience,”
The book “The Seven Circles: Indigenous Teachings for Living Well” can be purchased at wellforculture.com or any bookstore. You can also find more “Well for Culture” content on Apple and Spotify podcasts, YouTube, and Instagram under the same name.