Episode four of the PBS-8 (Duluth) six-hour historical documentary series Waasa Inaabidaa: We Look In All Directions by Producer/Director Lorraine Norrgard. Best Documentary Feature at the 2002 American Indain Film Festival. Mid West Region Emmy Award.
I was the Writer, Associate Producer, and Director of Photography for re-enactment scenes filmed on location on the Lac du Flambeau band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
“Good health means that you’re in balance, body, mind, and spirit.”
–Noreen Smith, Red Lake Ojibwe
To live a good and healthy life, the Anishinaabe-Ojibwe people received knowledge, instructions, and help from the Creator which taught the importance of maintaining a balance between their mental, physical, and spiritual health. Family is at the center of a good way of life.
Episode Four: Bimaadiziwin – “A Healthy Way of Life” examines the Ojibwe’s holistic approach to good health and the role of traditional medicine and spiritual healers. Also chronicled is the devastating impact on Ojibwe health brought by European-born epidemics, a shrinking land-base, and government policies of assimilation and acculturation. This program looks at the affects of boarding schools, adoptions, and other traumatic events that caused generations of grief, anger, and dysfunctional family dynamics. Learn also how the Ojibwe people maintained their health through improvements in health delivery systems beginning in 1955 with the creation of the Indian Health Service, and continuing with the training of their own people in western medicine and treatment.
This episode concludes with reaffirmation of traditional healing based on living a good way of life with renewed emphasis on spiritual healing. It examines important milestones such as passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, the growth and success of culturally appropriate models of treatment for substance abuse and other social ills, as well as the resurgence of traditional medicine combined with their own modern health clinics.