Winnebago's Whirling Thunder Wellness Program


To prevent and control the devastating effects of diabetes and substance abuse, in 1995, the Winnebago Tribe created the Whirling Thunder Wellness Program, which raises community awareness about diabetes and substance abuse, administers primary and secondary prevention services, and encourages healthy lifestyles that are consistent with traditional practices. Among the Program’s innovations are the "Team Up" diabetes patient retreat, "Kidz Café" which provides healthy summertime meals and snacks to community children, and after school programs that provide safe, adult-supervised cultural and physical activities for up to 50 children during peak "risk" hours.

Resource Type

"Whirling Thunder Wellness Program." Honoring Nations: 2002 Honoree. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2003. Report.


This Honoring Nations report is featured on the Indigenous Governance Database with the permission of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. 

Related Resources

Protecting Our Children: A Review of 100+ Tribal Welfare Codes

NNI researchers Mary Beth Jäger (Citizen Potawatomi), Rachel Starks (Zuni/Navajo), and National Indian Child Welfare Association governmental affairs staff attorney, Adrian Smith shared the results of an ongoing study on culture, removal, termination of parental rights, and adoption in tribal child…

Thumbnail or cover image
Navajo Treatment Center for Children and Their Family

Responding to high rates of child abuse and neglect, the Navajo Child Special Advocacy Project was launched in 1990 to provide Western and Navajo therapy to victims of sexual abuse between the ages of 3 and 17. With five offices on the Reservation, the project administers Navajo diagnosis,…


Guests Eddie Brown and Karen Diver discuss tribal program and service delivery across Indian Country. They examine the unproductive ways services and programs have been administered in many Native communities in the past, and the innovative mechanisms and approaches some Native nations are…