Medicine Wheel

Holistic Reflections

We have had at LINCDIRE the privilege of collaborating with Dr. Alan Ojiig Corbiere, Bne doodem (Ruffed Grouse clan), of M’Chigeeng First Nation (Manitoulin Island), between the years 2015 to 2018, and to learn under his guidance about Anishinaabe language and culture. During that time, Alan introduced the concept of the Medicine Wheel and suggested we explore it as a theoretical framework to inform the LINCDIRE/ LITE project. Dr. Corbiere notes that the medicine wheel has been used by many Indigenous scholars to research a variety of issues, including Aboriginal health, Aboriginal child services, and Indigenous education projects, and that it was time to apply it to a second language learning program.

The Medicine Wheel is a key symbol in Indigenous cultures and is central to the spirituality and sacred practices of First Nations peoples. “The four cardinal points on the Medicine Wheel are the Four Sacred Directions, represented among the Ojibwe by the colours yellow, red, black, and white” (Pitawanakwat, 2006). Each colour – Spirit (yellow), Heart (red), Body (black), and Mind (white) – forms a quadrant. Each quadrant represents one part of a cycle or an aspect of life: the four stages of life; the spiritual, emotional, physical and mental aspects of life; the four seasons. The quadrants also represent the four elements of nature. At the center of the wheel is the spiritual essence of the self, balance, and harmony. In fact, the Medicine Wheel is a symbolic representation of a holistic view of personal development.

Click on the video below to view a tutorial of how the Medicine Wheel has inspired the LINCDIRE pedagogy.  


The Medicine Wheel depicted here is not intended to be representative of all Indigenous communities. Some communities order the colours of the Medicine Wheel differently. No offence is intended in using one particular depiction.