Cultural Wellbeing

The Cultural Wellbeing Vital Sign addresses the extent to which people feel able to maintain their cultural traditions. The Puget Sound region is home to human populations from diverse cultures, some with long-held connections to place and others who have more recently arrived.  Cultural practices and knowledge systems are shaped by ecosystems and are critical to human wellbeing because they provide a sense of belonging, create the foundation for moral development, and define rules for social interaction. There is no question that many of the cultural traditions held by Puget Sound residents are dependent on the health of Puget Sound ecosystems.


Key Vital Sign Messages

     Tribal Canoe Journey, photo NW Treaty Tribes
  • Scientists asked Puget Sound residents about their satisfaction with participating in four categories of cultural activities or traditions related to the environment. Puget Sound residents that do engage in cultural practices generally feel satisfied with or neutral on their ability to participate in such practices. However, many people report that they do not engage in cultural activities related to the environment.
  • About 50 percent of people are satisfied with their engagement in cultural practices that they consider to be environmentally oriented social activities (such as environmental clubs, festivals, or outdoor events). Fewer people are satisfied with their engagement in practices they consider to be Native practices (such as Tribal center events, canoe journey, or potlach ceremony).
  • The act of collecting and preparing local foods supports cultural wellbeing and traditions. Engagement in environmentally-based cultural practices may be related to low frequencies of collecting local foods.
  • Satisfaction with cultural practices can influence a person’s Sense of Place. For example, residents develop connections to nature through shellfish harvesting.

Background Documents

Other Resources

Contributing Partners