Weaves of Wellness: Exploring the Experiences of Wellness and Imbalance in Indigenous Youth


  • Erin Newman Department of Secondary Education, University of Alberta




Medicine Wheel, Indigenous youth, Mettisage, Storying, Sharing Circles, Wellness


This research, which takes place on Treaty 6 lands and involves an Indigenous and decolonized worldview, stems from a personal and professional exploration of what it means for me to be Indigenous. Using a Metissage research sensibility (Hasebe-ludt, Chambers, & leggo, 2009), the research weaves my own experiences in relation to the research participants, and in relation to the land, and other living and non-living beings. The purpose of this study is to better understand the emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental experiences of wellness and imbalance in Indigenous youth in public high schools, and to foster an understanding of the Medicine Wheel. This research ultimately asks, how do the experiences of youth fit within the Medicine Wheel?  Participants will share their experiences of wellness and imbalance through storying, sharing circles, art, with the researcher using reflective journaling to reflect on the experience of listening. These stories will be audio or visually recorded. Participants will then place their experiences onto the Medicine Wheel into one or more of the four areas. Given that education and health systems are colonial tools oppression (Stewart, Moodley, and Hyatt, 2017), this research hopes to provide school staff, teachers, therapists, counsellors, health professionals and others with ways to meet the needs of Indigenous youth, in consideration of the Medicine Wheel and the Metissage conceptual trope.


Hasebe-ludt, E., Chambers, C. M., & Leggo, C., 2009. Life writing, and literary Metissage as an ethos for our times. Peter Lang Publishing.

Stewart, S. L., Moodley, R. & Hyatt, A. (2017). Indigenous cultures and mental health counselling. Four directions for integration with counselling psychology. Routledge.