Approaches to Community Wellbeing

Approaches to Community Wellbeing (ACW) looks at the health of the community or population as a whole, instead of individuals. It focuses on the prevention of illnesses and the promotion of healthy lifestyles, as opposed to treating illnesses.  ACW looks at what needs to be in place in systems or communities in order to keep people as healthy as possible for as long as possible.(ACW)

In 2010, the Chiefs in Assembly passed Resolution 10-06 Implementation of Public Health System, which mandated SLFNHA to develop an integrated model for public health for the communities. SLFNHA then applied for, and received, funding from Health Canada’s Health Services Integration Fund to develop the public health system.  SLFNHA undertook this task with the support of a Public Health Working Group, which included representatives from Tribal Councils, communities, public health units, and Provincial and Federal government. 

Through community engagement, and working with Tribal Council and community representatives, it was determined that the term public health was not the right term for the communities and the name Approaches to Community Wellbeing was born.


The Anishinaabe people of this land are on a journey to good health by living healthy lifestyles rooted in our cultural knowledge.


Our mission is to develop integrated, sustainable, and community-owned approaches to community wellbeing. The approach will be rooted with the traditional teachings of our people and will promote healthy lifestyles, active leaders, and positive Anishinabe people.


The Teachings of our people: We value the teachings of our people, including respect, wisdom, love, bravery, humility, trust and truth.

Language: Language is rooted in our culture as an Anishinaabe.  It connects us with the land, our ancestors, and each other.

History: We value learning from our history and allowing it to guide us toward the future.  Through understanding our history we can recognize and embrace our resilience.

Family: Our families take responsibility for each other and are integral to community wellness.

Wholistic: We value honouring the Circle of Life and ensuring balance between the four elements: spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional.

Honour Choices and Respect Differences: We value that everyone is different and we honour and respect these differences.  Everyone has the ability to make the choices that are best for them.

Share Knowledge: We value and share Anishinaabe Way of Life Knowledge.  We value the sharing of best practices and learning from each other.

Connection to the Land: We are the stewards of the land and we value our connections to the land.  The land is our teacher and provider.

Supportive Relationships and Collaboration: We value supportive connections and relationships both within and outside the community, which promote participation and inclusiveness.


Improved approaches to community wellbeing, which are integrated, holistic, sustainable, and proactive.

Increased community ownership over our health and health system

More people leading the way who are committed to healthy communities
Safer communities

More people making healthy choices

More children are being raised to be healthy community members

Increased connection to the teachings of our people


The Teachings of our People will be accomplished through the integration of Elders into programs and in the development of health messages.  Elders are consulted in the development of regional-level services to ensure that Teachings of our People are incorporated into programs and communication tools.

Community Ownership should be promoted and achieved through the involvement of community members, health workers, and local leadership.  By encouraging and assisting communities in developing their own community-level system, as opposed to dictating program requirements, it will build community ownership over the Approaches to Community Wellbeing.  In turn, this will also develop both community ownership over the health status of the community, and individual ownership over each person’s own health practices.

Positive people will be needed to make the system function and clients of the system will need to be open and receptive to learning and improving their health.  These positive and dedicated workers will determine the ability of the Approaches to Community Wellbeing to make a difference.  Furthermore, the Approaches to Community Wellbeing should also be able to promote positive people by promoting healthy lifestyles and tackling emotional and mental health issues in the communities. 

Active Leadership will be required in order to put these Approaches to Community Wellbeing in place effectively.  Community and regional leadership will be needed to provide effective and active leadership to achieve the goals of the approaches.  Leadership and positive examples will be needed from Chief and Council, Health Director, health workers, Elders, and youth throughout the programs.

The model and transition plan were approved by the Chiefs in Assembly under Resolution 15-03 Approval of the Approaches to Community Wellbeing and Resolution 15-04 Approval of the Transition Plan for Approaches to Community Wellbeing. In 2016, the Chiefs in Assembly passed Resolution 16-19 Implementation of Approaches to Community Wellbeing, which mandated SLFNHA to move forward with the implementation of Approaches to Community Wellbeing.

Program Areas

The Approaches to Community Wellbeing department at SLFNHA includes four main program areas: Healthy Living, Raising our Children, Safe Communities, and Roots for Community Wellbeing.  In order to achieve our goal of ensuring a wholistic approach, these four program areas are supported by the Regional Wellness Response Program to support the incorporation of mental health promotion and perspectives throughout programming.