Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member Anthony “Thosh” Collins and his wife, Chelsey Luger, celebrated their new book The Seven Circles: Indigenous Teachings for Living Well on October 25 at a book-signing at Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix.
The book reviews the seven circles of Movement, Land, Community, Ceremony, Sacred Space, Sleep and Food, a wellness model the couple developed in their work as consultants for Native Wellness Institute and Well For Culture.
“Our book feels like it’s been generations in the making—not just our lifetime, not just the past 10 years of us working as wellness advocates, but really generations,” said Luger. “As Indigenous people, we always acknowledge our ancestors and we … also acknowledge our future generations, those who are to come.”
Collins and Luger wanted to create the book because they said they noticed a lack of Indigenous wellness voices and content in the media. Their other goal is to eradicate stereotypes.
“When we think about Indigenous health, when we think about Indigenous wellness, sometimes the first thing you think of is our health disparities,” said Luger. “But that’s such an incomplete story; it misses so much, and in fact Indigenous culture is wellness, [and it was around] before the word ‘wellness’ existed on this land.”
They couple has created a “mind map” of the seven circles and how it took shape for the book.
“This was something we started building while working with Native Wellness Institute and our contributions for Well for Culture. We wanted to really focus on our foodways and movement, because Chelsea and I were both on this quest,” Collins said. “We were of course influenced by the fitness culture, but we knew it was much more than what the dominant culture was presenting and [we] actually kind of recollect our upbringing and our teachings as Native people.”
In the introduction, Collins and Luger say that their book is an invitation for all people to learn how to incorporate an Indigenous worldview into their wellness practice. The aim of their work—and by extension, this book—is to help people heal, to make them feel grounded, to help them feel at ease and in sync “in this complicated, noisy world where it’s so easy to get lost. You live by and have been healed by the strength and power of our ancestral teachings. Living in balance today, no matter who you are or where you come from, is truly possible.”
“We’re inviting folks to learn about Indigenous cultures through this lens of wellness, and hopefully some of the tips, stories and tools they’ll find between these pages will help them in their lives,” said Luger.
The Seven Circles: Indigenous Teachings for Living Well is available at the Indigenous bookstore Birchbark Books as well as Changing Hands Bookstore, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com.