The medicine wheel has been used by generations of Lakota and Dakota people as a sacred symbol of hope and healing. Each part of its design symbolizes our relationship with Wakȟáŋ Tȟáŋka (the Great Spirit), the Earth, and each other. It reminds us that we can find power and strength in our community and way of life.

There are many interpretations of the medicine wheel. The Find Your Power medicine wheel—designed by Lakota artist Don Montileaux—uses colors and design similar to what was used by our ancestors for thousands of years. Each part has a meaning.

THE CIRCLE

medicine wheel only

The circular shape can represent the continuous pattern of life and death, the path of the moon and sun, the shape of the family home (the tipi), or the shape of the drum. Here, we show it as a wheel with running horses. This represents our people sharing power, life, and positive energy with one another.

THE FOUR FEATHER ARRANGEMENT

medicine wheel 4 feathers only

The number four is a key part of Native culture. It can symbolize:

  • The four directions—north, east, south, west
  • The four seasons—spring, summer, fall, and winter
  • The four elements—water, air, earth, and fire
  • The four life stages of birth—birth, childhood, adulthood, and elder
  • The four races of humankind—black, red, yellow, and white

THE EAGLE FEATHERS

medicine wheel eagle feather

When included in the medicine wheel, the eagle feather is a sign of Wakȟáŋ Tȟáŋka’s power over all. In the Find Your Power medicine wheel, you see the outlines of people—our children, brothers, sisters, and elders.

Find Your Power

Think of your life force, your family, your culture. Like the medicine wheel, these things are sacred. Commercial tobacco use harms all of them.

When you see messages with the Find Your Power medicine wheel, remember why you want to quit smoking, chewing, or vaping. We must empower our children, brothers, sisters, and elders to quit so we can preserve and honor our people and way of life.

Sources: St. Joseph’s Indian School, U.S. National Library of Medicine – Native Voices

Share this message with your children, brothers, sisters, and elders.