Natoo'si Indigenous Healing and Well-being Initiative

The word Natoo’si means, “Source or giver of all life... everything on earth requires the sun in order to survive.” This name was gifted to United Way of Calgary and Area’s Indigenous Healing and Well-Being Initiative by a local Blackfoot elder.

About Natoo’si

United Way’s Natoo’si Indigenous Healing and Well-Being Initiative adopts a healing approach to address intergenerational trauma as a root cause of the challenges many Indigenous people in our city face.

Consistent with the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, this comprehensive healing approach incorporates cultural activities, therapeutic activities and legacy education. These three core activities support mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being for Indigenous people.

Natoo’si Goal

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

Alignment with United Way

This goal is aligned with United Way’s Foundational Goal 1.4: United Way and Indigenous communities have a relationship built on trust, respect, and reciprocity.


Natoo’si focuses on healing and well-being. 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 holistic 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.” 1

Natoosi Healing Wheel


  1. Enhance capacity in Indigenous-serving agencies to provide services using a healing approach
  2. Build capacity within United Way to advocate for the Natoo’si Indigenous Healing and Well-Being Initiative to donors and the community

1Family & Community Support Services Reporting Framework Aboriginal Indicators (Phase II),” 2014.

Phases of the Natoo’si Initiative

Phases of the Natoosi Initiative


Supporting healing and enhancing well-being has a positive influence on social issues such as poverty, addiction, mental health, and domestic violence. Encouraging healing within our communities through the Natoo’si Initiative is key to building a resilient and caring community where everyone thrives.

How You Can Get Involved

  • Educate yourself - read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report
  • Volunteer with Natoo’si programs
  • 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