The Cultural Wellness Center
"To unleash the power of citizens to heal themselves and to build community."
Hours for Minneapolis M-F: 8 - 5 PM
Weekends by Appointment
The Cultural Wellness Center is a community-initiated organization that mines and synthesizes experience-based knowledge to both explain problems and deliver solutions. The Cultural Wellness Center is in the business of positioning community knowledge at the forefront of community health and economic development ideas.
The work of the Cultural Wellness Center is about carrying out its mission “to unleash the power of citizens to heal themselves and to build community." To accomplish this mission the Cultural Wellness Center produces models to solve problems that have been created by individualism, loss of culture and loss of community - which our People's Theory of Sickness and Disease states ... "makes you sick."
Core concepts underlying our work:
Culture is a resource for people in their health and healing.
Everyone has a culture.
Community is a containing space where culture is expressed.
Culture defines how groups of people value and practice community, or how they do not.
Culture and epistemology are integral to understanding human behavior.
Healing for people of all cultures requires people engaged in self-assessment and personal goal attainment that are connected to family, kinship, community and culture.
Healing happens when people recognize and accept the wisdom within themselves and their elders and tap into the life-affirming ceremonies, rituals, practices, disciplines and philosophies from their cultural traditions.
The health of one’s cultural identity is directly related to one’s personal health, the health of one’s community, and one’s cultural group.
Reconciliation and bridging between cultures contribute to healing in the cultural dimension, which, in turn, affects community and personal health.
Community connections and cultural dignity are powerful medicines.
The Cultural Wellness Center opened in Minneapolis, Minnesota in October 1996 as the living legacy of ‘Healthy Powderhorn,’ an intense two-year community health organizing initiative. The organizers of Healthy Powderhorn listened to the opinions of neighborhood residents concerning health and the problems they experienced in the current medical systems, and engaged them to work on the issues they said most affected them. Over 40 ideas were implemented during those two years, including a farmer’s market, a youth bike repair business, community forums on nutrition, a partnership between cultural elders and a local clinic to bring elder consultants to medical appointments, family exercise sessions, a walking club, and educational sessions on cultural health practices and ways of thinking. This work led to the formation of the Wellness Center, where ideas from the community to improve health and well-being could continue to be born and implemented, and where the cultural knowledge and resources of the community could be taught and shared. Many of the people who initiated and have participated in the Cultural Wellness Center’s personal and community health activities are the people who still help to direct the organization: they sit on Elder Councils, on the board, on committees and/or offer regular input.
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The Cultural Wellness Approach
2. Develop Community Health Action Teams (CHATs) which consist of study groups and cultural community circles who research and organize to work on a particular topic of importance to the whole community’s health and well being.
3. Form Community Partnerships -- a web of relationships that the CWC has built with other community-based organizations, university institutions, and healthcare providers to teach intercultural communication, community engagement and culturally based personal responsibility.