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Community Health Education Highlights June 2019

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Traditional Medicine

The Traditional Medicine Program, established in 1995, was the first tribal traditional medicine program in the United States integrated into a tribal health delivery system. It has become recognized and accepted within the tribal community and has served as a model for traditional medicine programs offered by other tribes.

Program Objectives:

  • Offer holistic Ojibwe traditional medicine services to meet spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional needs.
  • Offer services that meet the cultural and traditional beliefs of the clients.
  • Encourage and teach individual responsibility for one's well-being and health.
  • Support health education and disease prevention goals and participate fully in the Strategic Health Plan.
  • Facilitate the integration of traditional and Western medicine.

Services include, but are not limited to:

  • Traditional medicine procedures and ceremonial functions performed by traditional medicine practitioners providing consultation, diagnosis, and treatment.
  • Provision of treatment with traditional medicines including plants, herbs, and/or specific ceremonies
  • Provision of healing sweat lodges as prescribed by a traditional practitioner
  • Seasonal Fasting and accompanying ceremonies
  • Cultural services such as giving of an Anishinaabe name, clam, and color identification
  • Referral to tribal clinics, substance abuse and mental health providers as well as other traditional practitioners and to healing ceremonies such as the Grand Medicine Society and the Big Drum Ceremony. 
  • Re-establishing rare plants and medicines onto tribal and private properties
  • Volunteer programs whereby community members assist in the planting, gathering and processing of traditional medicines.  Others have assisted with sweat lodges and other ceremonies. 

We provide these services to all members of federally recognized Tribes, Tribal households and families, all members of Tribal community.

Describe (if necessary) warning signs that may warrant a visit (example - Diabetes):

Traditional Medicine covers a broad scope of ailments and it’s important to remember that our primary focus is a holistic style of healing and wellness.  We focus on any issues pertaining to the spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional status of patients and have a variety of methods used to treat each and a lot of it has to do with a healthy balance of all 4 aspects of holistic health.


Locations for this service:

Grand Island Chippewa Community Center
622 West Superior Street
Munising, MI 49862
Phone: (906) 387-4721


Manistique Tribal Community Center
5698W US Highway 2
Manistique, MI 49854
Phone: (906) 341-8469


Sault Ste. Marie Tribal Health Center
2864 Ashmun Street
Sault Ste. Marie , MI 49783
Phone: (906) 632-5200
Fax: (906) 632-5276


Sault Tribal Health & Human Services Center
1140 N. State St. Suite 2805
Saint Ignace, MI 49781
Phone: (906) 643-8689


Providers who perform this service:

Joseph Syrette
Joseph Syrette is Anishinaabe Ojibwe from Batchewana First Nation located in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario Canada. He currently lives in Mt Pleasant Michigan and has had the privilege of working 7 years as a Language and Cultural teacher at the Saginaw Chippewa Academy School.


Keith D. Smith
Keith Smith, traditional healer, is an enrolled member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa from Minnesota and moved to the U.P. with his wife over a year ago. He began practicing with Sault Tribe in 2011. Traditional healing practices come in the form of guidance and providing traditional medicines to those who request help with a wide range of physical and mental health issues. He enjoys singing and drumming with various drums and is a member of two Anishinaabe societies. His leisure activities include fishing, relaxing by waters and traditional crafts with an emphasis on wood and stone carving.

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