Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization

Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

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What is the name of your solution?

Medicine Wheel Mno Bimaadiziwin

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Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

This app takes the traditional medicine and brings it into the 3rd dimension. You and your family travel around the wheel planning and reflecting.

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What specific problem are you solving?

The modern world is complex and often drags us away from being human beings. Tribal individuals and families no matter their origin have a tremendous amount going on. 

This app brings the traditional reflection tool, the medicine wheel, to the daily lives of people across indigenous communities and around the world. The problem of setting personal and family goals, setting up wellness checks, doctor appointments, vaccinations, physical activities, emotional care, spiritual practices, and mental exercises are often unprioritized and left on the back burner. 

The medicine wheel app aims to solve this problem by engaging the users in incremental holistic reflection activities that also connects them to their true selves, to their families, and connects them with their local community resources. Those resources could be mental health, physical activities, support groups all dependent on the community and what they choose to add as resources to the system. 

Many people struggle with reflecting in a good way that creates the outcomes that they are looking for.  The Medicine Wheel Mno Bimaadiziwin app will allow people to engage in their self-reflection with a simple well structured program, or it can be customized, or adopted and adapted from other community members' reflection practices.

Also, it can help solve missed appointments by being set up to receive push notifications from Indian Health Services, or other health providers to provide specific to the patient appointments, community notices (vaccine events), or tribal and local communications (walk-for-warmth, closures, cultural events)  

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What is your solution?

It is an app that can run on all platforms and walks a person through reflecting on various aspects of their individual and family lives.  

The app starts off with an introduction to the medicine wheel.  It notes that all cultures have devices that are used for reflection and planning and this one is embedded across various indigenous/tribal populations.

The app lets the user build their identity and whoever else in their circle that they would like to add.  This may include spouses, children, grandparents, pets, or other items that are sacred to the individual.  The individuals may be added, suspended, or deleted at any time.

Since the medicine wheel is a concept piece with various cultural representations the user is given a choice to use common medicine wheel representations or they can customize their own.  Do they want the people in their family to travel the medicine wheel in the physical, emotional, spiritual, mental direction?  Or do they want to travel in the emotional physical, mental, spiritual direction?  It is open to change.  So are all the colors, character attributes, and naming conventions.  

The medicine wheel itself is a 3d representation of the disk and is suspended in the air.  The characters travel the outside edge and reflect on the appropriate section and move through the sequence.  If they, for example, have a bad physical day they may choose to place a weight on the outside of the circle, if they did something that was positive they can place a balloon on the outside of the circle.  As the camera pulls back you can start to see the Medicine wheel come out of balance and warp.  The visual representation of the wheel (which in fact is a representation of the user and their circle) will help guide them to living a balanced life, and to help stay on the path to the good life (Mno Bimaadiziwin )

What you will notice is that the outside of the wheel has 7 reflecting places for each day of the week (on each of the 4 directions (ex. physical (7), emotional (7), spiritual (7), mental (7)).  Each time they pause to reflect they have an opportunity to add balloons or weights.  But they can also move forward in time and plan activities.  Maybe they are dr. appointments, or walks in the park, or talking to a grandparent.  The future is in complete control of the user.  This level of control doesn't always feel like it is in the hands of tribal peoples.

There will be all kinds of built-in achievements/badges and goals that they can work towards.  Maybe someone wants to be better with supporting their plant relatives so they start down a path that starts with "plant relative greeter" they add "medicine grower", "seed keeper", "plant rematriater", "community grower" and so on.  

There will be a community component.  You can see other people's reflection tools, the types of things that they want to share, the types of goals that they want to see in themselves.  If shared they can be co-opted into the user's medicine wheel and they can start working on mirroring their achievements.

Finally, there is a community resources component in which resources in the community can be accessed.  Talking circles, medicine lodges, recovery housing, mental health resources, etc can be added to the program so that the local resources are easily accessible and are introduced in a way that is part of their normal self-care system.

Tribal people are unique and the system will be designed to be both very easy to use but can adapt to the individual and their circle.





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Strong preference will be given to Native-led solutions that directly benefit and are located within the Indigenous communities. Which community(s) does your solution benefit? In what ways will your solution benefit this community?

This will benefit tribes across the country, with a focus starting out on Michigan and Wisconsin Tribes.  

Specifically, I am in the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians administrative team.  I would like to integrate this app and model into our Tribal Health Division, Recreation Department, Education Department, Traditional Medicine Department, Culture Department, Community Health Department, and the various programs within those departments.  In addition, discuss how the app could support our local community-driven programming such as well-briety.



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How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

I am working on a physical adaptation on the 3d medicine wheel with the Wise Council at the University of Wisconsin.  The team is providing me with the context of how our different tribes are utilizing the wheel in their individual communities.  

My team includes two individuals who in the past ran the Tribes' Traditional Medicine Program.  One is currently the Tribe's Behavioral Health Manager, and the other is a Planning Specialist and is exceptional at database work and logistics.  The fourth is a programmer intern, who will dedicate some amount of time developing the app prototype.

My team has over 50 years of experience working with our Tribe, various programs, and has close connections to the community.  They have strong connections to our community healers, community support groups, other directors and program managers from across our Tribe.



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Where our solution team is headquartered or located:

Sault Ste. Marie, MI, USA
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Our solution's stage of development:

Concept
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How many people does your solution currently serve?

1

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Why are you applying to Solve?

We need assistance in prototyping, identifying industry partners, finances, app development and marketing, and integration with existing data systems at IHS.


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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Technology (e.g. software or hardware, web development/design, data analysis, etc.)
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Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Larry Jacques - Owner

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Please indicate the tribal affiliation of your Team Lead.

Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

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Is the Team Lead a resident of the United States?

Yes

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Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Promote holistic and culturally informed mental or physical health programming for Native youth, elders, or families including but not limited to foster youth, veterans, and families with members who are disabled.

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More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Nobody truly understands the power of the Medicine wheel.  Most of the knowledge has been lost, but it still has a mythic-like presence in the community.  Reaching into our tribal roots to solve modern-day problems is what I love best about this solution.  It allows for people to connect to their traditions in a way currently impossible, then they also get an opportunity to expand and create, and have control.  It also lets people connect to each other in very positive ways, like a curated social platform that only is about living the good life, and working to achieve self defined goals.

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What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

I used my own 3d medicine wheel that I made in my early 20s.  This is the first of its kind representation of the medicine wheel, and it helped me through very difficult times in my life.  Years later I am on 125 million dollars worth of projects this year alone.  Simple guided reflection rooted in tradition has the power to create outcomes in a person's life that would otherwise be impossible.

I want to see the thousands of individual tribal people all have the same ability to take the time to reflect and make changes that they want to see in their own lives.


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How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

Every single one of those 17 goals can be enhanced with the Medicine Wheel Mno BimaadiziwinMno app.  

People can set personal physical, emotional, spiritual, mental goals to engage, volunteer, advise, donate, protect, etc to address:

Poverty, Hunger, health and well-being, education, gender equality, clean energy, work and economic growth, economic goals, inequalities, sustainable cities/communities, climate, our water, justice issues, and partnerships.


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What is your theory of change?

This is as grass-roots as you get.  It starts with individuals making individual decisions, then it supports connections to community members, and then making changes as groups within the community.  This is nothing but a scaffolding that allows tribal people to do what they do naturally - help each other.



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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

The core technology is the ancient technology of the medicine wheel.  The modern-day app is just a crude replacement for the one-on-one connection to the spiritual advisor in the community.  But because it has the ability to be with a person day in and day out it the tech makes small daily changes buildup over time to create real changes in the community.  Perhaps not perceptible at first but will have huge impacts over time.

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Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Ancestral Technology & Practices
  • Audiovisual Media
  • Crowd Sourced Service / Social Networks
  • Software and Mobile Applications
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 2. Zero Hunger
  • 3. Good Health and Well-being
  • 4. Quality Education
  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  • 7. Affordable and Clean Energy
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • 10. Reduced Inequalities
  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  • 13. Climate Action
  • 14. Life Below Water
  • 15. Life on Land
  • 16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
  • 17. Partnerships for the Goals
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • United States
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Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Not registered as any organization

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How many people work on your solution team?

4

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How long have you been working on your solution?

Well its been 15 years since I developed the first 3d model. Only a few months on the App concept

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What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

Every additional perspective is a benefit.

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Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

We have not yet developed a business model.

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Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)
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What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?

We have not yet created a financial sustab

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Solution Team

  • Larry Jacques Director of Strategic Planning, Jacques Consulting
 
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