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When we move, our spirits becomes happy and our brains light up firing neuronal impulses in all directions. The human body thrives on movement. Within us all we have a fire that was passed down to us from our ancestors––that fire needs to be fuel and one good way to fuel it is to move. Unfortunately, since most of us have been forced into a sedentary way of life, we do not move enough and as a result, we became sick. 

Diabetes, obesity, neurodegenerative diseases, heart disease, depression and addiction are all manifestations of human beings who lost their way to being human. In the beginning, we were given a set of values and instructions by the Great Spirit, Mother Earth and even the animal nations, amongst those values we were instructed to move. To move was to evolve and adapt to the natural world around us in order to sustain. Every since we have always competed in games to entertain or heal the people. Sometimes those games were used to settle disputes between neighboring nations when they did not feel like spilling blood. We developed hand to hand combat systems and perfected them over the generations. We even have dances where we express and exert ourselves to near death for something we believe in. Physical movement has always been our way, it has kept us well for culture since the beginning of creation. 

Today, dominant culture has built a complex system of living that plunged us into various degrees of indentured servitude causing our health to decline. That is why it is imperative that we re-traditionalize physical movement into our daily lives to reclaim our health as native people. The movement to reclaim ancestral health is ultimately about Indigenous Nationhood and restoring our connection to the land. Individuals make strong families and strong families are the heart of healthy whole indigenous nations.

At the front and center of this movement is healing. In the indigenous worldview, healthy is not just about physical health, it’s about your mental clarity, emotional well-being and elevated spiritual consciousness, this is what native wellness is all about. 

When our land got taken away, our health went right with it. This wellness movement to reclaim our health is ultimately about reclaiming our indigeneity and relationship to the land. Movement, exercise and eating real food is only a part of that. Meditation, prayer, dance, ceremony and indigenous teachings are also to be used to maintain good health. 

When we train, dance, move and exercise we strengthen that spirit of wellness. This is why I move, it is my himdag. I encourage you to have intention with your movement. Move and dance for those who can’t, when you heal they heal because we’re all connected.

To learn more about this way of life, visit the website of our indigenous health initiative