Well Nation

About Well Nation

Well Nation is a foundational Indigenous health and wellness program intended to improve access and education to sport, fitness and recreation opportunities, in order to improve the overall wellbeing of Indigenous Peoples and their communities. The program has various components to ensure sustainability, while providing the option to customize based on individual community needs, challenges and circumstances. Well Nation is based on Indigenous perspectives of health and wellness and addresses specific areas of wellbeing, including the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects that together work as a whole.

The Well Nation program was developed to align with the core mandate and values of ISWO, and also to support the objectives of the ‘Sport for Social Development in Indigenous Communities’ federal funding initiative. Well Nation attempts to bring together various individual elements and programs ISWO is already delivering, with a few new program elements, to create a comprehensive and sustainable program that enables active engagement of sport and wellness in Indigenous communities.

Well Nation Core Components

The individual core components of the Well Nation Program together, support the health and well-being of Indigenous Peoples, by increasing participation in sport and life-promoting activities, decreasing at-risk behavior, and increasing positive health outcomes and quality of life.

Resource Development

Resource development is aimed at providing educational materials for all age levels and needs, on the topics of nutrition and traditional foods, physical literacy, long-term athlete development, coaching development and best practices (including the NCCP Aboriginal Coaching Module), and sport program development, delivery and management. The intent of the resources is to provide a set of culturally relevant tools for individuals and communities to build physical literacy, fitness, and sport programs, and thereby enhance the desire, motivation and confidence of individuals to empower themselves and feel competent in the areas of physical literacy and sport.

Active Engagement and Training

Active Engagement focuses on promoting and enhancing healthy active lives, within an Indigenous framework of wellness. This component brings ‘resources’ to life and encourages learning, training and community-led facilitation and program development. The Well Nation Fitness Program is an important part of this component and provides a hands-on, learning and fitness experience for Indigenous youth and communities. The program features 28 hours of instruction, 8 weeks of community development work, and peer-to-peer support, completed over a four-month period; the first graduates of this program were certified in Thunder Bay in November of 2019. The program introduces simple fitness techniques and exercises, and features a training and certification component, empowering individuals and the community to continue building on their journey of health and wellness.

Wellness Warrior Campaign

Building on the active engagement component, the Wellness Warrior campaign celebrates Indigenous individuals working to activate their wellness or that of their community, through daily actions and choices that improve and enhance their well-being. The program profiles Indigenous individuals (of all ages, communities, professions and walks of life) from across Turtle Island and has included elders, youth, athletes, coaches, traditional knowledge keepers, aunties, grandmothers, and community leaders. The Wellness Warrior campaign highlights the importance of visual representation of Indigenous wellness in the mainstream – providing role models and inspiring and relatable stories of success and achievement – critical for Indigenous youth and future generations. The campaign also works to celebrate Indigenous ways of wellness, through its promotional series entitled ‘My Wellness, My Way’. Plans are underway to expand the Wellness Warrior program using video interviews and highlights, and the creation of an annual Wellness Warrior community calendar. A special display featuring a selection of our Wellness Warriors will be created and showcased at the 2021 and 2023 Masters Indigenous Games.

Well Nation App

The Well Nation app (currently in development, with plans to launch early next year) will support individual and community wellness, built on an Indigenous framework of traditional knowledge and lifestyles. The app will feature: a nutrition guide and tracker – with information about traditional foods, recipes and cooking videos, considerations about geographical locations, circumstances and access; an activity guide and tracker – with sample workouts, exercises and activities; elder teachings and cultural information; and sharing features, including webinars and digital resources. The App will serve to connect and support all aspects of the Well Nation Program, in addition to other key ISWO programs and opportunities, such as the Masters Indigenous Games and the Well Nation Fitness Program.