“The people were no longer eating a high protein diet of fish,” said Henry Lickers, Seneca Turtle Clan and Director of the Department of Environment. “The men had stopped fishing because of the contaminants. The diets had changed to high carbohydrates and the rates of diabetes rose.”
The limitations of western science’s epidemiology started Lickers and George Haas, research associate at the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Environment, thinking about a more inclusive way to view community health. The result was a study launched in 2000 based on the Life Indicators Wheel devised by combining western science with traditional worldview sought from the elders and working with several First Nations communities.
“We know we have higher rates of suicide, of diabetes and death rates,” said Lickers. “These are consequences, not causes. The Indicator study brings hope. It puts something in the hands of the people that they can do.”
The Life Indicator Wheel’s circle is divided in half vertically. The right half of the wheel represents the spiritual side of the model. The left side represents the corporal/physical world.
The circle is then divided in half horizontally. The upper half represents the intellectual aspect of a community. The lower half represents the visceral/bodily aspects.
The health of the community is in the center, the place where the lines intersect.
Around the wheel is divided into eight segments representing the balances of: Values and Morale; Responsibility and Spirituality; Politics and Religion; and Environment and Economics.
For example, in a Newfoundland community, playing drums was the component of spirituality. Having drums was the component of religion. When the community counted the number of drums they had, they found there were more than 100 but no one was playing them. The link between spiritual and religion was reconnected when they again began singing and inviting others to join them.
“When we asked communities what we could measure that indicated health, not one ever said death or illness,” said Lickers.
A community in north Manitoba said “moose” when asked.
When habitat loss resulted in a decline in moose population, the men no longer hunted, the women no longer had the work of preparing meat and hides and the sons no longer had pride in going out with the men. Alcoholism, abuse and diabetes began to rise in the community.
Western science proposed economic development and poured money into monitoring diabetes, which only continued to rise.
Then in 1975 a moose management program was initiated. Moose population began to rise to about 1,200 today.
“Now even the worst hunter can bring home a moose,” said Lickers. “As the moose population rose, the alcohol use and diabetes, all the death indicators began to disappear.”
Economy on the wheel was represented by the number of moose. Value was represented by the number of successful hunters. Today the community has its own school, hotel and water treatment plant, all because the moose are present.
The entire article is found here: http://indiancountrynews.net/index.p...254&Itemid=114