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The Five Arrows Program
Health Culture Diplomacy and Peacemaking

Why Five Arrows?

The Peacemaker of the Iroquois Confederacy, Deganawida, with the assistance of the Mother of Nations, Jigonsasee – the woman without a face, who was the first to accept the Peacemaker’s message of Peace and Power, orchestrated peace between the five nations known historically as the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy of Turtle Island (United States and Canada). He taught his student Hayanwatah (Hiawatha) that the five nations standing together were stronger than if they stood alone. Our strength as a people is in our unity – in our community represented in the bundling of the five arrows of Hiawatha. 

​​The Five Arrows Program

The goal of the Five Arrows Program is to demonstrate "complementarity" as balance in education and practice between the four identified health care cultures: the biomedical, complementary therapies (a subculture of the biomedical), self-care, and the traditional/indigenous. The "five arrows" are represented in the four directions as the four health care cultures and the first arrow as the complimentarity that harmoniously unifies these four cultures. The curricular foundation for this two-month program is the Cultural Diplomacy Model©. The program includes: immersion in a two-day face-to-face program followed by a two-day teacher training intensive in the cultural diplomacy curriculum (Solution-Focused Negotiation; Peace-Making Communication, and Mindfulness); bi-monthly faculty-facilitated online small group work; and cultural immersion experiences.

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Mrs. Cecelia Mitchell, Mohawk Wisdom Keeper, passes the Five Arrows of Hiawatha (The Story of the Peacemaker) to Dr. Martha Libster 

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​What Is Indigenous Knowledge?

Indigenous knowledge refers to traditional or local knowledge that is unique to a given culture or society. It is the knowledge that people in a given community have developed over time often outside the formal education system. It is based on experience, tested over centuries of use, adapted to local culture and environment, dynamic and changing.  It is the basis for local-level decision-making in agriculture, health care, food preparation, education, natural resource management, and a host of other activities in communities.