Indigenous Healing and Well-being Initiative

Over time, the well-being of Calgary and area’s Indigenous population has been negatively impacted by political, social, and economic policies and practices, resulting in suppressed Indigenous culture, identity, and spirituality. This has created trauma spanning multiple generations, creating serious repercussions for Indigenous people and limiting the inclusivity of the place we call home.

Our city thrives when Indigenous people and their culture are acknowledged, celebrated, and included in the growth and development of our communities. That’s why the Natoo’si Indigenous Healing and Well-being Initiative emerged in mid-2015—to address intergenerational trauma as a root cause of the challenges many Indigenous people in our city face. The programs supported through this initiative offer comprehensive healing approaches that strengthen Indigenous cultural identity and engage individuals and families on a healing path.

Natoo’si goal

Indigenous people are engaged on a path of healing and well-being to achieve success.

Healing can be understood as a lifelong journey of finding balance, on an individual level, as well as within relationships and in connection with the natural and spiritual world. Well-being is part of the Indigenous way of understanding what it means to live a good life.

“Healing can take place within the context of an individual, a family, a community, an organization, an institution, and a nation. In this context, healing is not merely the absence of disease or challenges, but instead a wholistic focus on well-being. This requires attending to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of persons, across the life span for children, youth, adults, and elders.”


Enhance capacity in Indigenous-serving agencies to provide services using a healing approach

Build capacity within United Way to advocate for the Natoo’si Indigenous Healing and Well-being Initiative to donors and the community. Read more about our new Indigenous Strategy to see how we’re doing this.

Community of Practice Group

The Natoo’si Community of Practice Group began in 2016 as a group of United Way funded agencies that served Indigenous people, to come together to share learning with each other on the design and implementation of a healing program and healing practices within organizations. This was to align with the goal of Natoo’si which is:

Indigenous people are engaged on a path of healing and well-being to achieve success.

Over the years, this group has built a strong and trusting relationship to share resources and collaborate efforts with one another. Through this relationship, the Community of Practice group organically wanted to create more impact in their organizations rather than only within their healing program. Through conversations as a group, they identified 3 priority areas that the group wanted to begin having influences on: 1) collaborative supports; 2) self-care for staff; and 3) decolonizing organizations.

As an Expression of Interest from United Way emerged in 2020, the Community of Practice welcomed some new agencies in the group and have transitioned to a Community of Practice 2.0.

This newly evolved group will:

  • Continue to develop influential actions on the 3 priority areas
  • Embark on a learning journey of the United Way Akak’stiman Indigenous Strategy
  • Support as mentors to take the other United Way funded agencies on a learning journey of the United Way Akak’stiman Indigenous Strategy

Community of Practice 2.0 Agency Partners

Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary logo
Calgary Legal Guidance. Empowering lives through law
Children's Cottage Society logo
Closer to Home Community Services logo
eFry logo - 50 years of healing
Hull Services logo
Miskanawah. Empowerment. Strength. Family.
Trellis logo
Urban Society For Aboriginal Youth (USAY) logo
YMCA Calgary logo

Take action today

Educate yourself – read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report

Attend the annual Connect Event, which supports healing, well-being, and reconciliation

Spread the word – have conversations with friends and family about Indigenous issues and the importance of healing and well-being

Learn more about intergenerational trauma

United Way of Calgary and AreaNatoo’si Indigenous Healing and Well-Being Initiative