Interpretive panels throughout the garden will describe the spirtual meanings of the four cardinal directions along with their representative spirit animals and sacred plants. The ceremonial use of tobacco, sage, sweetgrass, and cedar will be included.
The outer circle, a dry-stacked rock, raised garden, will hold many herbs that have been used by various tribes for medicinal puposes as well as for food preparation.
Future segments of the overall project may include a typical Indian garden, tipi, sweat lodge, and possibly a totem pole. While the Medicine Wheel is from the culture of the northern plains tribes, other American native exhibits will represent cultures of other tribes from throughout the nation. See full map here.
Harvest Girl, the last of the cedar carvings, was set in place December 23, 2012. This June 21st (summer solstice) photo shows her standing in front of the 3 Sisters Garden.
Lines added to the Medicine Wheel's paths represent the Creator pole shadow during the year. The Native Americans could tell time by the sun's position in the sky, by watching stars rise and fall, or by knowing when the bears wake from hibernation. Some named the lunar cycles after what was happening at the time. For instance, one tribe named one lunar cycle "laying geese" and another cycle "coming caribou". For many Native American nations, the year was counted by the number of full moons that had passed.
"American Indians gave names to each of the full moons to keep track of the passing year. The names are associated with the entire month until the next full moon occurs." Ref.: American Indian Moons
Here are the names the SIOUX gave to them:
Eagle Has Landed - Spirit animal of the East - and the White Buffalo - Spirit animal of the North
Coyote - Spirit animal of the South & Bear - Spirit animal of the West in their new home.
Petroglyph Stepping Stones
Far from forming a single ethnic group, Native Americans were divided into several hundred cultural and language groups.
Click on map for larger image