WHEEL KNOWLEDGE IN THE 21st CENTURY
The Original Social & Business Media Network !
The Song of Wolf Brings the
the Natural World &
Connects us to each other, our Ancestors and the Seven Directions.
once thought you came to live with us. You still could have that chance.
We're still here, and we live on this land. We don't live in your
libraries in the pages of your books. This project is not for digging up
our pottery, or for digging up our bones, for that matter. It's not even
for digging up data and statistics about us. 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 believing."
(Mad Bear - Tuscarora Holy Man of the Tuscarora Nation of the Six-Nation Haudenosaunee Confederacy)
As the circle evolved for different tribal groups, each stone was given a meaning, for example, hope, sharing, caring, respect, honour, patience, right action, inspiration, wisdom, courage, creativity, the bedrocks, in other words, of Native life. I certainly understand the argument about how "faulty traditions" have been adopted in recent times, for example: women not being allowed to play the big drums began in the early 1972. There is a lot of research that clearly shows the ban is wrong. A lot of what we think as time-honoured are really distortions from the minds of those who would try to re-write history.
In the case of the loop tguye~lk, what many tribal communities have done is, rather than "reinvent the wheel", pun intended, they simply adopted the knowledge as a universal symbol of peaceful interaction among nations, and there is nothing unusual about that. However, the knowledge is expended, it crosses cultural understanding. My language has a word for "Medicine" but only as it is used in the context of physical healing (haldaaw, meaning to medicate, or ni~lgutxa'ootga, meaning poultice).
A Medicine Wheel represents the healing of the whole self, our word for spiritual healing, medicine woman/man, is "halaayt". Wherever the phrase "Medicine Wheel" came from, it is still a gentle term and one that is easily identified as a good thing, so I'm not going to try to fix what really "ain't broke."
For the Great Plains, the Wheels were created to acknowledge and celebrate the power of the Sun, hence their central significance at the Sun/Thirst Dance.
The Plains Medicine Wheel knowledge include the seven sacred ceremonies and the seven sacred teachings of White Buffalo Calf Woman. These, for example, were subsequently adopted by the Ojibwa, Chippewa, Potowatami (Anishinaabe) people and called the "Seven Grandfather teachings"); they changed the emphasis from female to a male perspective as part of their cultural world view. (Respect, Honour, Wisdom, Courage, Love, Humility, Honesty).
"Long ago, I heard my children cry. Four days later, I took on the shape of a White Buffalo Calf. Four days after that, I went to them. And over the next four days, I taught them Sacred Songs and Dances and I taught them the Seven Sacred Ceremonies. I taught them the Sun Dance. I taught them to Fast. I taught them the sacred and traditional ceremonies necessary for youth Coming of Age. I gifted them with the Peace Pipe and taught them how to use it. I taught them the ways of the Medicine Wheel. I taught them to seek their paths to The Good Red Road by reaching out to me through the Vision Quest. And I taught them how to build and use the Sweat Lodge." (The Seven Sacred Teachings of White Buffalo Calf Woman, by David Bouchard and Dr. Joseph Martin, 2009).
tribe to tribe, the details may differ but the basic teachings are
the same. They have been
followed and shared for many, many years. So we honour the
ancestors, the ones that have walked before us, because they’re the
ones that sat in circles many times before, and prayed that their
children and their grandchildren would follow in their path. When we
honour the ancestors, we honour ourselves. "
(Elder, Lillian Pitawanakwat, Ojibwa. Passed to her day of quiet, January 8, 2011)
" (Elder, Lillian Pitawanakwat, Ojibwa. Passed to her day of quiet, January 8, 2011)
So, to the Plains, I say in your language, "pi la may ya ye" (thank
you) for your
wisdom. As a Tsimshian Elder, I use the knowledge with honour and
respect, according to my world view which really isn't all that different
So, to the Plains, I say in your language, "pi la may ya ye" (thank you) for your wisdom. As a Tsimshian Elder, I use the knowledge with honour and respect, according to my world view which really isn't all that different from yours.
Scattered across the plains are a number of stone medicine wheels. Some are extremely large, greater than 12 meters across. The term "Medicine Wheel" was first applied to the Big Horn Medicine Wheel in Wyoming, the most southern and the largest in existence. Big Horn is the largest and measures eighty meters across; on the June Solstice, a ray from the Sun cuts directly across it. Big Horn consists of a central circle of piled rock surrounded by a circle of stone; "Rays" of stones travel out from the central core of rock and its surrounding circle. The whole structure looks rather like the wheel of a bicycle.
Despite their physical existence, there is still a lot of mystery surrounding them, because without written records, so little is understood as to their true meaning. Many theories abound, including: (a) the wheels contain significant stellar and cosmological alignments, specifically designed in other words to point towards the rising sun or to certain star nation constellation(s); (b) the performance of specific rituals and ceremonies that have been lost to the mists of time.
There have been many books written about the Medicine Wheel with some of the knowledge placed in difference directions. For example, red people in the west and black people in the east; Anishinaabe version places the Red People in the South and the Black People in the West. They sometimes replace the yellow and white with green and blue. Others suggest the wheel is walked in a counter-clockwise direction. I dispute this because it is based on the rising sun and its travels are the sky which is clockwise.
As so little is really known, there is really no wrong way to build a wheel, A circular walk after all has no beginning and no end no matter which direction you start. It is more of a question of what resonates within the world view of each tribal culture as they seek their own understandings through the expression of building a medicine wheel.
I can only speak from my own knowledge, research and what has been taught to me. "Some things on the wheel", as one of my teachers once said to me "are simply based on geographical logic." For example, where the main colours of human moreorless currently originated' "Logic." he said, White in the North, Yellow in the East, Black in the South, Red in the West.
TIMELESSNESS: INDIGENOUS MEDICINE WHEEL
“We have no buildings, there are no steeples. The lake is our church, the evergreen trees are our living saints if we must speak in your language. Leave us to see beauty everyday rather than find it only in our memories.” (Taos Pueblo Elder)
"Medicine wheel knowledge finds its bases in the seven directions (East, South West, North, life above the earth, life on the earth, life within each of us). Indigenous wisdom is being called back to the drum, as the knowledge must be shared. It influenced tribal life for thousands of years and is needed now as our world is one of fractured families, countries at war, and the innocent caught up in the maelstrom of often brutal "power over" mentalities. Yet, it does not have to be this way; we can choose to live another way, although it requires a strong, collective voice. The Tsimshian call it Ama't'ilgoolsk, Ama'diduuls, or "Good thoughts, Good life". The Lakhota call it, Hanta Ho, or “Clearing the Way”, Ojibwa call it Mene Doh, or a "State of Revitalization", the Mi'gmaq call it Gsite'taqan or "Something to be Cherished or Valued", which extends to re-infusing the earth and its citizens with healthy attitudes and right actions.
Prior to European contact, Canada's Original People lived lives of dignity and integrity, we did not engage in sordid behaviour, subjugate women, or engage in ethnic cleansing. Instead, our lives had deep meaning that held at the centre an abiding respect for the medicine wheel which gave us our physical (east) spiritual (south), emotional (west), mental (north) sustenance (from now on, known as the "four realms" of human existence). We came into our leadership by staying in our personal and collective power, by showing up and choosing to be accountable; by extending honour and respect to all living beings. We lived by the dictate: "Begin, in a good way, as you mean to carry on." This did not mean that we avoided arguments, or other tribes for that matter, that occasionally resulted in a battle royal; after all, many tribes were fierce warriors. However, it was the exception, not the rule. Arguments were usually about territorial rights. Differences were also decided warrior to warrior, leaving Elders, women and children out of the mix. If people were taken from a tribe for any reason, they were usually adopted into their new tribe at the same level of importance. This was, for example, common among the northern tribes of British Columbia. It was only after the arrival of the Europeans, that the concept of war changed; power-over mentalities resulting in massacres of women and children; winning at all costs became the rallying cry.
After European contact, most of us continue to be guided by our Ancestors, and all that which was greater than us; to honour our heritage, walk proudly with flexibility and fluidity in our dealings with each other. We demonstrated by our behaviour, in a circular-based spirituality the power of right action, and its components that included: clarity, objectivity and discernment. We paid attention to what had heart and meaning because above all else we knew that it was the heart that held our memories. When we extended arms of love inward to ourselves and outward to others, we held a balanced view of the power of health, wellness and positive interconnectivity. We dared to dream but remained humbled in the process. We gave voice to the majesty of ceremony and prayer through songs, dances and stories. You see, we knew we were more than the sum of our physical parts, or our tribal names; indeed, we were water, land, trees, animals, swimmers, flyers, crawlers and the supernatural. And, so we accepted without limits or conditions our role as Mother Earth's caretakers and found joy and challenge in the journey. We did not need accolades to know that each of us was valued and an integral part of the whole. Every day we arose and offered our gratitude for a new day, for another step around Mother Earth. In the words of the great Shawnee warrior leader, Tecumseh, "if you have nothing to be thankful for then the fault rests with you." And, so we offered tobacco, songs and prayers and gave thanks for our lives. As the Great Spirit Prayer says, and I paraphrase, it is the responsibility of each of us to go to the spirit world with clean hands and straight eyes so that when life fades as the fading sunset we can move beyond the white veil without shame.
 "Called to the Drum" is a common metaphor used among Native nations to explain the need for us to once more take our rightful places within the North American cultural, political, social and economic mosaic by sharing our time-honoured knowledge. All drums represent the heartbeat of Mother Earth, and are, therefore, female.
 Medicine Wheel, although a real entity, is also describes the Earth. Other terms: Mother Earth, Sacred Hoop, Copper Shield, Circle of Life.
 Lacrosse, for example, originally created by the Haudenosaunne, was a game that decided territorial disputes, among other things. It did not become a sport until much later.
 Ironically, despite their willingness to serve in the military, and their invitation to do so by both the Canadian and American governments. native warriors were not recognized as citizens, so they did not receive military pensions. On June 21, 2002, the Honourable Minister of Veterans affairs for Canada offered the sum of $39 million dollars as compensation for approximately 1,800 Treaty Natives who had returned to reservation lands following their war service. The government stated specifically that the offer should not be considered as an indication of liability on the part of the Canadian people (War Amps web page). In Canada, Native people did not receive the federal vote until 1960.
contains a chart to build a forty-stone Medicine Wheel, along with
both a Character and Environmental teaching. Forty Stones = Eighty
Teachings! The book is a valuable tool for Educators in helping to
incorporate the teachings into their mindful character education
is also for all of you interested in wanting to know more about
the rich knowledge of First Nations people.
MEDICINE WHEEL AND
Sixty Minutes TV Show pundit, the late Andy Rooney in one of his tiresome, irrelevant televised diatribes. 1992).
Despite irresponsible views by public figures such as the late Mr. Rooney, my Ancestors possessed an enlightened consciousness that rested in the spiritual power contained in the highest and best of each of them.
"Spiritualism is the highest form of political and social consciousness. Native people are among the last surviving teachers of this kind of enlightened experience." (Haudenosaunne address to the western world, Geneva, 1977).
It is important to use spiritualism and the medicine wheel wisely and well in the 21st century - which is a time of bridging ancient wisdom into the creative tapestry of contemporary times. In other words, spirituality is not a religion. As a matter of fact, there is no word for the word 'religion' in First Nations tongues because it creates an unnecessary separation between humans and Mother Earth, whose spiritual essence resonates through her natural warmth, sound and visual sensations that heals souls and raises spirits. Our relationship with her provides for us a holistic road to peace and this goes well beyond any human-designed religion that often seeks to control and manipulate.
On the Pacific Northwest Coast where I am from, it started with Adaax (Stories or True Telling), when during Yaawk (Feast Season) elaborate oral narratives and dance dramas depicting our cultural history and knowledge were told. In a pan-Native sense, our Ancestors closely studied the natural world, becoming familiar with animal behaviour, plant medicine, darkness and light, the changing tides, and all other forms of nature. We treated each living being as a sacred and equal member of the living world; hence all living beings were referred to as People, given human attributes, souls and spiritual responsibilities. It was inconceivable for the tribes to view themselves as separate or above the natural and supernatural worlds; it was this vast and profound knowledge that sustained us, and we flourished for thousands and thousands of years.
MEDICINE WHEEL AND SYMBOLS
MEDICINE WHEEL - A UNIVERSAL SYMBOL
The knowledge mirrors life; it sometimes requires courage to look and really see what is being reflected back because some experiences are painful, while others joyful and reflective. However, it is ultimately facing it all that creates a whole person.
My Ancestors were encouraged to think and walk in a positive ways. "As you think so it is." In other words, what we believe about ourselves is reflected in our earth walks. Greet every day with sacred honour songs and respectful prayers because life is a fleeting thing. The knowledge forms the basis of what it is to be human. After all, we are the weakest in all creation and therefore, as the world’s ‘takers’, we must be cognizant of what we take, how much we take and why we take it, then being grateful for the bounty through song, sacrifice, and ceremony. An Elder once told me that the grains of sand on a beach will never equal the number of teachings contained within the mysteries of the Medicine Wheel.
The Medicine Wheel increases self-esteem and just simply makes you feel good about yourself; it grounds you in the truth of who you are as someone who matters.
ELDER TEACHING: "All birds, even those of the same species are not alike, and it is the same with animals and with human beings. The reason Wakan Tanka [Creator] does not make two birds, or animals, or human beings exactly alike is because each is placed here to be an independent individual and to rely upon itself." (Heháka Sápa, Black Elk)
have spent many hours listening to the waves crashing into the shore,
hearing the overt and subtle musical sounds of the water. I listen
closely to the trickles of streams, the roll of rivers and the rush
of oceans. It is one of my favorite ways to spend time with myself.
my greatest joys is to create a
using the participants as the 'Stones'. Participants receive so much
more out of the knowledge in terms of understanding their own lives
in relation to the bigger picture. By the end of the exercise the
circle looks unify-ingly wonderful.
Tecumseh (Shawnee) Vision Statement
LivLive your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect all people and bow to none. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.
Trouble no one about their religion, respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life.
Abuse no one and no living thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes to your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.
WALKNG THE MEDICINE WHEEL
The Medicine Wheel assists in helping to seek: healthy bodies (East); strong inner spirits (South), inner peace (West), open minds (North). The term "Medicine" as it is used by First Nations people does not refer to drugs or herbal remedies. It is used within the context of inner spiritual energy and healing or an enlightened experience.
The central essence of the medicine wheel is that each of you must make your own choices. More often than not, however, these choices are often times influenced by other individuals (families, co-workers, friends, social and political environments). Not of all your experiences are good ones, there is a lot of hate, terror, jealousy, fractured families and societies in a very unsettled world which has resulted in an increase in various kinds of cancers. Sometimes you are not successful in working around the pain and you become caught up in a jungle of tangled emotions, followed by "not right action". It is difficult to walk the earth with care always looking to your future in healing, positive and understanding ways, when it is so easy to just give up. But, then, this is the challenge isn’t it? To learn from those experiences that have not elevated your life, (even though it can be a scary process!) keep moving forward in a manner that pleases your Ancestors. Remember: time is relative to the process of building your life and is no one else's business unless you choose to share.
emphasize, there is no right or wrong way to walk the wheel or live your
life, how we do it is our choice, and how we do it should not be judged
by anyone else. This is where
Five Native Ethics
come in, which is a whole other teaching.
Suffice it to say that the Ethic of
advises that it
is not our place to judge how we choose to live.
It our place
to be there
in friendship, love, balance, support and harmony when needed, and even
then our personal opinions must remain our own.
After all, it was never the intent that the world
would be borne out of mistakes. Each person is created as a "perfect
soul" which reflects the central essences of the medicine wheel. I know,
it is hard to accept perfect-ness when you are feeling decidedly
imperfect on any given day. However, you are where are supposed to be at
this point in time, and you are still perfect!
should be a good day with good thoughts, good
feelings and prayer because being called to your day of quiet could be
at any time. As one of my teachers once said,
"If someone says to me, 'I'm not spiritual', I'll say, you breathe,
don’t you’? If you breathe you are spiritual for Spirituality is
breath and breath is faith in self."
As the beginning of the Great Spirit Prayer says,
Spirit whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me I need your
strength and wisdom."
The Circle lies at the centre of First Nations knowledge; it is simple logic, actually, as everything in the Universe is round. Father Sky is a great blue bowl, the Planets and Stars are round. Mother Earth and all that live upon her are round, i.e. the plant world with its four circular parts, roots, stems, leaves and fruit. Air swirls and water bubbles in circles. The human body is circular. In other words, the circle is integral to an understanding of the sacred and equal connections of all living beings. There is no beginning and no end in the cycle of life; it is an endless, respectful continuity from the past, to the present, to the future and to the plenitude of life. Mother Earth is often referred to as a Medicine Wheel, Copper Shield or Sacred Hoop because of her circular nature.
Always remember that very sacred teaching as regards etiquette when in circle - "What goes on in a circle, stays in a circle!" The safety and confidence with which people speak their truth is sacred and must never be spoken of outside the circle. Only those who were in the circle have the privilege of hearing that truth. It is not a debating society, therefore speak your truth from the first person and do not argue with another person's opinions or beliefs.
The circle is as sacred to Native people as the confessional is to Catholics. In other words, "ain't nobody's business but the members of the circle and the Ancestors!"
BACK TO HOME PAGE
SACRED SEVEN DIRECTIONS
EAST (Element: Air) Male Elder Speaks: "Ah-ho, this is where all Physical life begins, where Grandfather Sun begins his leisurely walk across the breast of Mother Earth's mate, Father Sky amidst the clouds borne by Air. Eagle flies in the East to assist my Ancestors in bringing messages to me. East is MALE, and Men sit in this direction where stamina, logic, strength, physical protection thrive; where Warriors for peaceful purposes emerge in the fullness of their leadership skills. It is the place where thoughtful decisions and selfless acts are made for the greater good of all. It is a time of action and positive accomplishment. I awaken to Spring which starts a new cycle of life and a new beginning. I scatter Tobacco upon the sacred earth, give thanks for my health, for family, friends, and peaceful relations. It is also the direction of the Beautiful Yellow People (Asian) for they originated in the eastern direction. The origination of humans is logical geography."
SOUTH (Element: Earth) Female Elder Speaks: "Ay-ee this is where all life is reborn and infused with new and positive energy for health, wellness and living in a good way. A sacred tree was planted - which represented the 'Givers': Four Elements, Animals, Plants, Trees and their sharing/caring ways. They give themselves to me as food, medicine, shelter and clothing. I let my spirit soar on the breath of warm winds and azure waters. The South is FEMALE. YOUTH sit here for they represent new life and the wonder of learning new things as they look toward their endless horizons. I glory in the Summer for it takes me into the magic of watching the green world come back to life. This is the place of the Healer and the Spiritual realm within me. I give thanks everyday for the confidence I feel within myself. I light Sage and breathe in the scent and remember always that I am Well, I will be Better, I am here. It is also the direction of the Beautiful Beautiful Black People for they originated in the Southern direction. The origination of humans is logical geography."
WEST (Element: Fire) Female Elder Speaks: "Ay-yee I speak for the Fire and the Sacred rocks (Grandfathers). I stand here for all humanity. I carry the history, songs and knowledge of the great circle of life; In my sweatlodge I pour life-giving, life-sustaining water onto the grandfathers; spiritual, emotional, mental and physical life regenerate through prayers that follow me through the mists of endless time. The West is FEMALE, the Emotional Realm. Women sit in the West., By balancing my emotions, I am able to stand solidly in the truth of who I am without embellishment. Keeping my emotions level helps me to stay calm, remain in the moment where I can be non-judgmental towards myself and others. The West is also the direction of creativity, the joy of spontaneity and artistic expression. I am open to hearing the knowledge from my Ancestors in both waking and sleeping dreamtime. West is the direction of the Visionary, I acknowledge the power of my visions/dreams, prayers and I am humble in the knowledge and application of them. I revel in the Autumn months for the falling leaves take me to a place of quiet reflection. I light Sweetgrass and breathe in its gentle, sweet scent and feel a sense of well-being. The West is also the direction of the Beautiful Red People (First Nations People) for they originated in the Western direction. The origination of humans is logical geography."
NORTH (Element: Water) Male Elder Speaks: "Ah-ho, through the Wisdom of the Element of Water, I hear my Ancestors. The North is the direction of the wisdom and strength of the "Mindful Mind". This is the direction of the Teacher in all of us. I am wise in dispensing what I know to be true. Elders sit in the North for they represent the full circle of life and all the wisdom and experiences they acquired during their long journey. I listen to them, for their knowledge lives on and sings with their Ancestors, their stories echo on the waves of the water and out of their dreamtimes. Listen to the songs of white bears and know that the wisdom of the ages courses through them, they need the north and the cold just as I need it so I can rest and revitalize. The season of Winter is upon me, finishes the thirteen full-moon cycle, and is a time for the Earth Mother to rest. I reflect on all that I have learned and experienced during this time. I light Cedar, or drink Cedar Tea or have a Cedar Bath and float in the strong healing water of my own reflections. It is also the direction of the Beautiful White People for they originated in the northern Direction. The origination of humans is logical geography."
LIFE ABOVE THE EARTH:
Father Sky is the protector of the Universe and Mother Earth's mate. The healing warmth of Grandfather Sun, the regulation of the tides and women's cycles with Grandmother Moon, Star Nation, the keepers of the wisdom of the ages. It is to him we thank when the healing rains come to heal the breast of Mother Earth. We thank him for the snows that blanket his wife so she can heal and regenerate.
LIFE BELOW THE EARTH:
Provides balance, cohesion, connections and rootedness with Mother Earth. I stand proud and secure in who I am. I give thanks to the four great winds that first found their origins in the lower world. I give thanks to the crawlers who keep the earth clean and regenerate the soil.
LIFE ON THE EARTH:
I honour myself and all life, for it is the mainstay of my personal journey. It is my essential INNER self which is ever-changing and transforming, that moves me beyond time and beyond seasons. I am not afraid as I welcome the changes and challenges that help forge who I am as a strong, sensible, loving, intelligent human being.
Following the directions in a sacred way commits me to not only talking the talk, but more importantly, walking the walk. I travel along my healing path embracing the unlimited knowledge and resources available to me. Connections to culture, personal and collective vitality, personal identity, spiritual strength, all of which become my everyday thankful acknowledgements.
This is what Indigenous Renewal Ceremonies and Knowledge are all about. This iss why legitimate Traditional Teachers and Elders are needed and who have respectful, sacred connections to each other and to all things in the natural world.
"Wilwilaaysk, All My Relations. We have spoken. Nii'sabbat, It is finished."
DIRECTIONAL PRAYER MANTRAS
EAST Today I acknowledge that my body contains a fantastic genetic code unique only to me. It is a vehicle of expression designed to transport and enable me to function within the physical realm. I do not devalue myself, therefore I will not devalue my body; it is the temple that houses the Mental, Spiritual and Emotional realms of my existence. I understand and accept that learning and changing takes time and that personal leadership and wisdom are ongoing quests. I may not be able to expect an overnight miracle but I can expect a miracle over time.
SOUTH Today I acknowledge that I am connected to a spiritual power greater than myself sometimes known as the Breath of the Invisible. It loves me and created me in perfect balance with Noo Halidzoks (Mother Earth). I place no boundaries on the love I give myself and others. I am not defined by the opinions of the wider world because my self-worth comes from my soul. Besides, "if I care what people say about me, I won't be who I am." (Russell Means, AIM)
WEST Today I will acknowledge that changes in my life must begin with me. I will speak from the depths of my wise self because to lock up my heart locks up my emotions. I will listen to my dreams and visions and, if necessary, create a new reality for myself. I will stop denying that problems exist. Instead I will honour them for they have helped make me who I am at this moment in time. In other words, to deny my difficulties is to deny who I am. What I will do is dream new dreams, lift up my spirit and ultimately my life.
NORTH Today I acknowledge that to change my life requires the twin elements of honesty and wisdom. Honesty to understand when a change(s) is necessary and good, Wisdom to change my patterns of behaviour even if they fly in the face of what others think and believe about me. I have a sacred right to live my life as I choose, and I reject any roles imposed or assigned to me in dysfunctional situations. I will not waste the gifts freely given by my Ancestors.
CREATING AN ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE WHEEL
IMPORTANT NOTE: When building an environmental medicine wheel, each stone represents an aspect of nature and is placed in a specific direction. The placement is not how the builder 'feels' but what is right and logical, following the time-honoured Indigenous wisdom of the ages. (See my book for details)
WISDOM OF THE ELDERS: A MESSAGE TO OUR YOUTH
Young people cannot learn if they are tired, hungry, frightened, feel unloved, and/or have been abused both in their personal lives and in school yards.
VICTIM: IT IS NOT OKAY FOR YOU TO BE:
1. Living in fear while at school or at home.
2. On the receiving end of jealousy, cyber-bullying, gossip and resentment of any kind.
3. Physically touched in a way that you do not want, including unwanted sexual advances.
4. Isolated, hit, pushed, bitten or any other form of physical violence.
5. Victimized by racial slurs or because you are mentally or physically challenged, or made a different gender choice. Cultural and Human Diversity are strengths not weaknesses.
6. To engage in any hazing activities that morally blackmails or humiliates you as a way of being accepted as part of the so-called "IN" crowd.
BULLY: IT NOT OKAY FOR YOU TO:
1. Engage in any intimidating behaviour, i.e., verbal/physical threats, constant criticism that makes someone feel victimized, controlled, diminished or fearful.
2. Make someone feel that everything they do or say is wrong.
3. Humiliate by text message, email, Facebook, Twitter or any other electronic means (cyber bullying, in other words).
4. Force someone to drink, take drugs or engage in any unlawful activity that seeks to bring her/him down.
5. Lie cheat, steal and then blame your actions on another innocent person.
Spending peaceful time together creating a Character Building Medicine Wheel empowers our youth to develop creative, fulfilling and spiritually grounded relationships. The medicine Wheel provides a framework in terms of achieving an integrated, non-linear, non-judgemental approach to spiritual, mental, physical, emotional health and wellness. Change is always possible. To be a Warrior of Peace requires, courage, personal leadership, determination and effort.
"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." (M.E., Canada Employment & Immigration Union Conference, Niagara Falls, On.]
"Shannon, I hardly have the words to thank you and Sandy adequately. People have been buzzing since the workshop....I've received lots of positive emails about the event, and verbal 'enthusiasms' too. I knew we were going to have a wonderful day together, but who could predict that it would turn out as the single best example of teaching inclusive character-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." (M. Lee, Institute of Education and Learning.)
We are always going to need someone to stand by us.
Listen and be inspired.