MARQUETTE - Keweenaw Bay Indian Community tribe members visited Teaching Family Homes in Marquette Tuesday to bless a new "serenity circle."
The circle is made in the design of a medicine wheel - a Native American tradition symbolizing natural cycles of birth, growth, death and regeneration. Teaching Family Homes' medicine wheel serves as a serenity circle for people to enjoy and reflect on whatever they choose to, the group's CEO, Christine Myers, said.
Rich Rossway, who manages public relations and fund development for TFH, said, "A number of kids we work with come from a tribe, so it's nice to incorporate it into our campus."
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community member Kyndon Ekdahl, left, performs part of the ceremony through an act called smudging while Sands Township Supervisor David Kallio breathes in the smell of the sage on Wednesday at Teaching Family Homes in Marquette. The ceremony blessed a medicine wheel at Teaching Family Homes. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
The wheel is seen in its entirety. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
The project was funded by a grant given to TFH by The keweenaw Bay Indian Community. The grant will also help fund enhanced trails on the TFH campus, including signs marking certain trees with information about the specific tree, Myers said.
During the blessing ceremony, tribe members went around the circle from person to person with sage burning in bowl while using a feather to waft the smoke toward the person in front of them, which is known as smudging. Sage is believed to have cleansing properties.
The medicine wheel is broken up into four quadrants: east, south, west and north. Each quadrant is a different color and represents an aspect or nature of man, a life stage, phase of health and sacred plant.
East represents the color yellow, the physical aspect, childhood and physical health of man. Tobacco is the sacred plant. South represents the color red, the emotional aspect, adolescence and social health of man. Cedar is the sacred plant. West represents the color black, the mental aspect, adulthood and intellectual health of man. Sage is the sacred plant. North represents the color white, the spiritual aspect, elder and spiritual health of man. Sweetgrass is the sacred plant.
The medicine wheel and trails at TFH are open for the public to use.
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-486-4401.