What Does It Really Mean To “Decolonize” Wellness?
Dr. Appiah was writing specifically about clothing — the question was about a white person dressing up “in a ‘costume’ portraying a person of color.” But it’s possible that the same kind of litmus test can be applied to wellness, too. “Some of what we practice within wellness spaces are the same practices that were stripped away from communities, especially Indigenous communities, and that they were vilified for and penalized for practicing too,” explains Rebeckah Price, a wellness advocate, anti-racist advocate, yoga teacher, and co-founder of The Well Collective. She points to saging or smudging. In Canada, Indigenous young people were put into residential schools that prohibited culturally significant practices like saging. Today, you’d be hard pressed to walk into a yoga studio in North America that doesn’t have a bundle of sage tucked into a drawer, and many of those studios are owned by non-Indigenous, white people.