Nose Hill Park recently became home to a new cultural landmark. In late September, members of the Blood Tribe built a traditional medicine wheel there as part of the Siksikaitsitapi (Blackfoot Confederacy) conference.
The medicine wheel is constructed of rocks in the shape of the Siksikaitsitapi logo, a circle that represents all four member tribes: Siksiika, Blood, Northern and Southern Peigan.
Andy Black Water developed the concept and design. "It is meant to be an offering site,” says Black Water. “When people walk or bike through there, they can stop and make a small offering to our creator and be blessed. It's an opportunity for us as people to take a few moments from our daily routines to thank the creator."
Medicine wheels have been found across the Northern Plains of North America, some dating back thousands of years. For the past 15 years, the Siksikaitsitapi have been holding conferences throughout their traditional territory. At each conference, they set out landmarks to signify a spiritual connection to the land and an affirmation of interest in their traditional territory. The landmark is a testament of the Siksikaitsitapi's relationship with the land - a reciprocal relationship and also one of stewardship.
Nose Hill Park is an area of cultural and historical significance to the Siksikaitsitapi. Black Water explains, "The area was a look out for summer camps and winter camps. There is a view of the valley and people would look out for game or members of other tribes."
Black Water hopes that the medicine wheel will help educate all visitors to the area and share the history of the Siksikaitsitapi people. "It doesn't matter what faith you go with, our creator is the creator of all," he says, adding, "(The medicine wheel) is there for the benefit of all."
Michelle Reid, Cultural Landscape Management Lead for Calgary Parks, thinks the medicine wheel is a valuable addition to Nose Hill. “Parks play an important role in promoting Calgary’s cultural as well as natural landscape,” says Reid. “We are very happy that the Siksikaitsitapi chose this location.”
The medicine wheel is located in the southeast corner of the park, and is most easily accessed from pathways south of the 14th Street parking lot.