Consider learning and making a Medicine Wheel together as a family.
Parts of the Medicine Wheel
Gather in a circle. Hold up the poster of the medicine wheel. Tell the children what it is and ask them to describe it. Encourage their observations and ideas, but introduce these components:
– It is always a circle. Many Indigenous people believe they are connected to the land – and all creation. These connections are represented by a circle.
– The circle is divided into four equal parts. These represent different parts of creation. They are equal and interrelated. They balance with each other to make the whole circle complete.
– The quadrants are four different colours. The colours, representing all the races on the earth, made by one Creator and making up one circle are: (clockwise from the top) white, yellow, red and black.
– The quadrants represent the four directions. The directions are: (clockwise from the top) north, east, south, west.
– Sometimes the medicine wheel quadrants include the four seasons (winter, spring, summer, fall) and other aspects of life such as the natural elements (fire, earth, air, water), human elements (intellectual, physical, emotional, spiritual), or even types of creatures.
Remind the children that Indigenous people believe that “everything we do, every decision we make, affects our family and our community; it affects the air we breathe, the animals, the plants, the water in some way. Each of us is totally dependent on everything else.” (From Evelyn Steinhauer, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta.)
Ask children to stand in the middle of the room and have them face the different directions in turn as you read aloud the corresponding section of “Parts of the Medicine Wheel” for each one. Invite children to imagine (and do) actions that correspond with what they are hearing.
“The Circle has healing power.
In the Circle we are all equal.
When in the Circle:
No one is in front of you
No one is behind you
No one is above you
No one is below you
The sacred Circle is designed to create unity.”
Reconciliation Activities for children – The Presbyterian Church in Canada
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