This wellness initiative is designed to maintain healthy cultural activity in community while practicing physical/social distancing. It is run by our Sayem (Mental Health) staff who are on a work-from-home arrangement. The program uses Facebook as the primary and only avenue for participation. We used our existing Facebook page to attract students and families both in and outside the community to join.
A weekly task list is posted with 3 cultural activities (for example: post a pic of Stinging Nettle; go to the water and collect a rock; pick a Frog’s Leaf and post the traditional name for it). Participants post their successes to be entered into a weekly draw. Prizes will be mostly gift cards to promote online shopping and other items such as a drum, bikes, exercise gear, and outdoor play equipment. Random draws are done throughout the challenge to keep the interest up. Grand prize draws will take place in 6 weeks. Winners outside the community will be mailed gift cards.
We are addressing cultural wellness needs of our community and the importance of physical/social distancing during this pandemic. We aim to provide alternative ways of taking care of our mental health when services are limited. This program also promotes language learning.
We immediately saw 73 students and families join the challenge. The photos are increasing motivation for people we wouldn’t normally see being active. It is promoting language, traditional medicines, and land-based wellness. People are getting out onto the land more than we’d normally see in our community.
This is a wonderful way for people of all ages to engage in cultural activities while learning about the importance of practicing physical/social distancing during a pandemic. This challenge can only be done through social media as we did not want any face-to-face, or paper entries. Most people have the ability to participate, however there are some who lack the technology to participate (other people can post on their behalf).