[Blog] Indigenous Authority and Self-Determination in Public Health Matters

(November 15, 2023)

We believe the pathway to wellbeing is a journey of reclamation and resilience that includes reflecting on traditional lifeways to solve political issues. Western concepts of political sovereignty have been used to limit Indigenous rights to self-governance, and do not recognize the distinct relationship of Indigenous Peoples to their ancestral lands, waters and resources.

That is why our approach to systems transformation works to holistically address multiple social, cultural and political factors that support our ability to be well. We are passionate about bringing together Indigenous communities from across the Pacific to advance Indigenous-led efforts to deconstruct the systems and policies that perpetuate inequities.

Our community-centered mission to advance self-determination for the wellbeing of humanity and the natural environment reflects our vision to healthy, vibrant Indigenous communities. We approach this work across three focus areas, which are interdependent:

HEALTH SYSTEM TRANSFORMATION to strengthen local capacity to address health inequities using a community-centered public health approach.

  • Red Star is a national leader and trainer for strengthening tribal public health capacity and infrastructure. We have provided education, training and capacity building assistance to tribes, tribal organizations and the Pacific Island territories since 2008.
  • We create a variety of resource materials to help tribal nations take steps to strengthen Indigenous community health and sovereignty.


  • Red Star convenes a global multi-sector practice community to meaningfully address health and critical responses to ecosystems under threat. 
  • Indigenous-led knowledge systems are needed to inform legal, regulatory, policy, and practical approaches to ensure an abundant future. Join the conversation through Indigenous Exchange, Restoring Balance Collective, and at Sacred Waters 2024. 

CANOE TRADITIONS to affirm cultural identity, holistic wellness, community connection and our relationship with, and responsibility for, the natural environment.

  • Led by Frank Kawe, we promote traditional sailing practices in Aotearoa (New Zealand) to build community leadership and resilience, while increasing our connection to and responsibility for the natural environment. 

Ready to learn more and join the conversation? Join us at Sacred Waters 2024 on March 12-13 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a global gathering of Indigenous voices.  This one-of-a-kind gathering will connect Indigenous leaders and communities in conversation of sovereignty, self-determination, and the protection of our sacred ancestral waters. Join us.