The Cultural Wellness Center opened in Minneapolis in October 1996 as the living legacy of ‘Healthy Powderhorn,’ an intense two-year community health initiative that involved conversations with more than 1,000 neighborhood residents about health concerns and problems that they experienced with local medical systems. The initiative engaged area residents in making changes in the community to foster healthy living. Over 40 ideas were implemented during those two years, including:
- A farmer’s market;
- A youth bike repair business;
- Community forums on nutrition;
- A partnership between cultural elders and a local clinic to bring elder consultants to medical appointments;
- Family exercise sessions;
- A walking club; and
- Educational sessions on cultural health practices and ways of thinking.
Many of the people who initiated and have participated in the Cultural Wellness Center’s personal and community health activities still help direct the organization today; they sit on Elder Councils, the board, committees and offer regular input.