Teya Peya Productions


Illuminating Medicine Wheel Workshops/Seminars, Drumming Circles & Speakers' Bureau

Power of Purpose Lies in Recognizing Spirit's Common Sense

           Proudly in Service to Indigenous People & the World Community Since 1991

"We're still here, and we live on this land. We don't live in your libraries in the pages of your books. Our world is not for digging up our pottery, or for digging up our bones....We have a long surviving and sacred tradition and an experiential wisdom that's been passed on for more centuries than you can imagine. This is your chance to benefit from that. All you have to do is be quiet and listen and quit worrying about proving and start believing." 

(Wallace 'Mad Bear' Anderson - Tuscarora Holy Man & Activist,
Tuscarora Nation of the Six-Nation Haudenosaunne Confederacy)



 Medicine Wheels are  attributed to the wise and sacred knowledge of the Plains Native people, and their summer solstice ceremony, the Sun/Thirst Dance. Approximately sixty Medicine Wheel's have been found in Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, with over forty in southern Alberta.


What many other tribal communities have adopted the Medicine Wheel as a unifying symbol of peaceful interaction. Tribes, such as the Ojibwa, and Tsimshian for example, have adapted the knowledge to suit their world view. It is with humble thanks that I acknowledge the wisdom of the Plains.


Unhampered by the rapid growth of technology in the twenty-first century, Native leaders understood the importance of developing physical, spiritual, emotional and mental strength in their communities. Medicine Wheel knowledge were a means of providing everyone with a strong sense of character-building purpose.


A Medicine Wheel was traditionally constructed by the laying of stones, each representing a character trait or universal understanding, (e.g. self-esteem, personal courage, hope), that was first discussed with the Elders and then laid in a circle in a specific pattern. As more knowledge was introduced the wheel became larger and larger. (Photo: Big Horn in Wyoming is the largest, measuring seventy metres across and consisting of tens of thousands of various-sized stones each with its own meaning).


Tribal communities understood the value of counteracting racism with teamwork, jealousy with self-respect, gender bias and gender choice with acceptance, fear with courage, hate with love. Each person was valued for exactly who they were, regardless of gender, age or experience, and the tribes hummed for sixty thousand years.


As noted above, in modern times, the medicine wheel has been universally adopted as a symbol of inspirit health and wellness; it also adapts very well to contemporary times, and is a wonderfully uplifting way of developing both environmental awareness, and strength of character for personal and professional pro-active change. Medicine Wheel teachings re-infuse the earth with healthy attitudes, actions and hope. It is only through intelligent commitment to ourselves, each other and our world, with all that lies below, upon and above, can we truly appreciate our hopeful destiny.


After many years as a Senior Director in a large unionized, culturally-diverse company, I have seen how easy it is for individuals to lose their focus under the pressure of performance, longer hours, threats of down-sizing and job loss, long commutes and generally increased stress. Medicine Wheel knowledge offers tangible mechanisms upon which the power of clear, positive communication among, individuals, families, business associates, communities and nations can be focused.


Note:  My presentations are geared to the specific requirements of the event.



Since before recorded time, drums were one of the main universal signals for calling people together; they were humanity's common pulse. Drums do not know about race, racism, jealousy, hate, resentment, greed, gender bias, gender choices, human diversity. What they do know is the magic of respect, hope, inspiration, intelligence, honour and inclusivity. The drums coupled with medicine wheel teachings takes us on a journey of teamwork, co-operation, quelling the ego, and being part of the joyful sound of one heart beating.

--People from many different backgrounds and cultures come together to create peaceful connections through the sheer joy of vocals and drum rhythms. 

--Chant/Drumming circles are the ultimate stress reducer.  It is a time for everyone to 'just be'. 

--Natural biochemicals in the body are released which help boost the immune system, among other things. 

--Inner chatter is instantly quieted, and a peaceful meditative state is often the result, as the drum connects with your own heartbeat. 

--The beauty and wisdom of First Nations narratives when combined with music and rhythm bridges the cultural divide in a way that allows for the magic of re-connection to be celebrated and understood in positive and uplifting ways.

-Peace on earth becomes a reality.


So, drum for the Earth, Community, Family, Yourself and Sing because everyone's listening!


--Participants learn a tremendous amount about themselves and other cultures.

--Healing the heart by writing an original song,  and singing it an original Native language is part of the inspirational enjoyment of this experience.

--It is a proven fact that drumming circles improves productivity and teamwork, while reducing absenteeism.

-It dramatically reduces stress through a synchronicity of intelligent and mindful group 'right' action.

- Disputes are healed, reconnections are made.





        2-3 HOURS, FULL DAY (6 hours) OR TWO-DAY RETREAT


   For over forty years, I have been counselling and coaching women of all ages and  from all walks of life. Women all over the world come from powerful matriarchal Ancestors who taught that we were not only to take care and build for ourselves, but we were to do the same for our families, communities and, yes, nations. Make no mistake, sisters, we were charged with this responsibility when the gift of life, of creation and fertility was given to us. Over time, many women have lost hope because of the challenges of trying to maintain integrity and self-esteem under the scrutiny of a relentless, judgmental, often violent male world.


Yet Faith is in the DNA of all people regardless of gender, race, colour or creed; it is at the primal level, deep-seated in the ancient brain. Like air, faith in self is intangible but essential to life.  A lack of faith manifests when we feel that  our voices are unheard, when there is no sense of ownership, when we feel powerful instead of empowered.


Women of all nations are being called back to the drum to once again form solid bonds of cross-cultural sisterhood. The collective female voice that is Mother Earth's bedrock must be listened to and respected. We are in a time of resurrection of the confident, powerful female; the time is now for us to step forward into the truth of who we are.


In this gentle, inclusive, informative and relaxing workshop you have the opportunity to come together to reconnect with each other. You have the opportunity to  "just be", to find your voice and to feel that you matter in the world. Although you may carry many titles, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin, niece, worker to name a few, the workshop serves to remind you that you are also a very important, Individual Self. Time-honoured Medicine Wheel teachings and other traditional knowledge form the basis of this important workshop that guides women to open gateways to positive self awareness. It is an almost completely interactive experience and includes, improvisational theatre, vocals, big powwow drums and dance.


 Depending on length of workshop, it includes:

1.  Time-honoured traditional medicine wheel knowledge set in contemporary contexts.

2.  Big Drum Vocal circle.

3.  Group and small group exercises.

4.  Improvisational Theatre.

5.  Pre-scripted theatre pieces.

5.  Interactive building of a human medicine wheel.

6.  Meditation.

7.  Writing original music and singing it in an original language.

8.  Lively discussion and sharing circle.


Note 1: Maximum Participation - 60

Note 2: Large open space to accommodate, drums, chairs, dancing, props.

Note 3: Length: Minimum 2.5-3 hours, or full day (6 hours), Weekend Retreat.

Note 4: Video-taping by permission only.



 2 day workshop,  or weekend retreat is available.





It is an almost completely interactive experience for women and men to explore the value of living in balance and in a good way. First Nations knowledge teaches us about teamwork, co-operation, quelling the ego, and being part of the joyful sound of one heart beating. In order to live a good life, we must show up and engage in it. It is a profound understanding and refinement of thought and feeling that connects us deeply to both the temporal and upper worlds. Native People are being called back to the drum to share the time-honoured knowledge that sustained tribal life for thousands of years. All of us need powerful messages that allow for the growth of the spirit, to embrace mindfulness; to stay in the present and act in non-judgmental ways. In this way we can create an entrance to our souls, where our life's journey starts on a path of seeking the truth of our existence.  Also, the role of women and men in the tribes back when the world WAS in balance.


Courage + Inner Strength + Hope + Accountability = Physical, Spiritual, Emotional, and Mental Resilience!


1.  The Tsimshian call it Ama't'ilgoolsk, Ama'diduuls, or "Good Thoughts, Good Life". 

2.  Ojibwa call it Mene Doh, or "State of Revitalization".

3.  Mi'gmaq call it Gsite'taqan or "Something to be Cherished or Valued".

4.  Lakhota call it, Hanta Ho, or “Clearing the Way”.


In other words, it is about clearing physical, spiritual, emotional and mental debris so that another story emerges; a story of faith, understanding, and, ultimately, the triumph of the human spirit which extends to re-infusing the earth and its citizens with healthy attitudes and actions.

Not only does time-honoured Medicine Wheel knowledge comfort us by making sense of the world, but it challenges us to do better.

For over forty years, I have been counselling and coaching corporate executives, managers, staff, students, educators and clients individually and in mixed-group settings. I've developed a unique approach based on time-honoured Indigenous knowledge, where all members of an organization are integrated into a positive, circular chain of understanding.


---Create teamwork

---Promote Positive Leadership

---Focus on Ideas

--No room for gender bias

---Alleviate Stress

---Concentration, Good Listening

---Authentic and transparent interpersonal communication

---Differences between information and communication

---Build intercultural understanding

---Understanding non-verbal signals

---Adapting to change

---Conflict Resolution

---Enhance performance


The presentation combines a variety of  interactive elements:

--Time-honoured traditional medicine wheel teachings set in contemporary contexts.

--Pulsing Big Drum and Vocal Circle.

--Group and small group exercises.

--Theatre: Acting in pre-scripted pieces; writing a short individual piece.

--Interactive building of a human medicine wheel.

--Writing original music and singing accompanied by big drums.

--Lively discussion and sharing circle.



Note 1:   Audience maximum 65.

Note 2:  Large open space to accommodate drums, dancing and props.

Note 3: Video-taping, photography and recording IS


Presentation Copyrighted


"What a fabulous day. I can't think of a better way to bring us all together than building a human medicine wheel. I laughed, cried, you were wonderful, your energy and compassion is simply inspiring." (Canada Employment & Immigration Union)

"I would like to thank you for an outstanding luncheon key note presentation at the Human Resources conference....You engaged the hearts and minds of our delegates and opened them to embracing change and connectedness on a meaningful level. (Conference Board of Canada)

"Shannon, I hardly have the words to thank you and Sandy adequately. I've received lots of positive emails about the event, and verbal 'enthusiasms' too. I'm not sure how you'd follow up on such an amazing day, but many have suggested bringing you back next year (works for me!). I knew we were going to have a wonderful day together, but who could predict that it would be the single best example of team building that I have ever seen. Your personal power is awesome, and your ability to read the people in front of you is truly a gift." (Education and Learning Centre)

Your ability to make us feel sale, particularly those of us in crisis, was absolutely heart-warming and amazing. I love your energy, often raucous good humour, and I felt really encouraged because I realized you'd been through what a lot of us are currently going through, this was a huge comfort to me. You are right, there is always hope, isn't there?""
(E.M., Women's Gathering, Toronto, ON)


"This show is for all of you  who want to feed your soul, elevate your spirit, participate and laugh your head off & sing. as Thunderbird encouraged, like everyone is listening!" (M. Anderson, U of Regina)


       "Shannon and Sandy were fabulous. The staff haven't stopped talking about the drums, your words, and all the laughter.  The afternoon put us all back in balance.  It was a wonderful experience."  (Lambton College, Sarnia)


"You were the highlight of our Women in Leadership Conference!

What was to have been simply "entertainment" was educational, and connected people emotionally - a powerful combination.  You have an amazing gift - thank you for sharing it with us." (Georgian Community College)

"Shannon's workshop gave employees a sense of value and safety. Her years of experience have given her profound insight....Using her traditional teachings and extraordinary communication skills she offered very inspiring messages and in such a relevant and entertaining way!" (Motorola Canada)



For more on the Medicine Wheel


  Presentation Copyrighted




---Seven Steps to the Colonization of North America's Indigenous People. How it began, Why it happened, Where are we now?

--Justice, Indigenous Rights and Restorative Justice. Examining the Canadian Criminal Justice system and the incarceration of First Nations people.

---Medicine Wheel & Character Education in the 21st Century. Hope, Synergy and Faith.

---Women & Leadership. When the maple trees start dying from the top, women will take back the drum.

---Earth, Air, Fire, Water: Colonial Greed and the Destruction of the Natural World. First Nations People, the first environmentalists are being called back.

---Wisdom of the Ages: Art and Magic of Indigenous Storytelling. The soul and cultural grounding of Indigenous people.

---Cultural Diversity and Race and Racism. Cultural and human diversity are strengths not weaknesses.



"One of the best three hours I've spent learning and understanding more about the plight of First Nations people in this country. Shannon was clear, concise, unemotional and non-accusatory. It was quite simply an enlightening, and, yes, funny experience. She has a lot of humour and compassion." (Student, Brock University)


"Shannon is a mesmerizing storyteller. She has the ability to place us at the scene in a gentle, non-intrusive manner. I could have listened to her all day." (Participant, IDEA Conference, Ottawa)


"Thanks for your inspiring and stimulating lecture on Canada's incarceration of Aboriginal people. It was sobering, enlightening and couched in gentle humour." (G.E.)

"Shannon Thunderbird's ability to reach people with her "soul speak" messages appealed to the diverse group at the conference. She was truly amazing." (A. Michaels, Engineer)

We had Shannon at Northern College and everyone loved her presentation. Shannon and Sandy are awesome ladies." (L. Wesley, Aboriginal Student
Co-Ordinator, Northern College, Timmins, ON)

  Presentation Copyrighted



---Teamwork, Consensus, the hallmarks of Indigenous cultures.

---Focus on ideas with concentration and good listening skills.

---Adapting to change, alleviating stress, conflict resolution, enhancing performance.

---Understanding non-verbal signals.

---Courageous Communication: Centre the mind and embrace authentic and transparent interpersonal communication.

---The power of cultural and human diversity.

---Educating Educators: Politics, Social Studies, Justice, History, Music, Dramatic Arts, Native Studies.

---Women and Leadership.

---Really getting it about self-empowerment.

---Achieving personal goals, positive attitudes, improving relationships, "lightening up!"

---Traditional thinking is not old-fashioned thinking.

---Rest and Contemplation: Essential Life and Business skills.

---Intercultural understanding and gender communication.

---Authenticity, responsibility and accountability.




(Where applicable, Fees do not include mileage, airfare, hotel accommodation, per diem)


 Adults also need to Play, and to Discover Serenity in the Embrace of the Big Drums