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Four Directions


Wech-ksenyak [north], translated as “where the cold is”, is where Mother Earth is purified by snow and home to our winter season bbon. White is the color of this direction. With hair the color of snow, North is the place of our elders. We are reminded of the stories and teachings they gift us, as we weather the cold in our warm homes. White also symbolizes one of the four races of man Mamogosnan [Creator] placed on earth. Wech-ksenyak [north] is the land of Bear Power that holds the secrets to cure diseases and it is here that our medicine wishkpemishkos (sweet grass) can be found.  Sweet grass is considered a gift and the braided hair of mother earth, its smoke is used to purify and keep evil away.

Wech-mokek [east], translated as “where the sun comes up”, is the source of light, learning and the knowledge of all things. As a new day begins with the sun’s first light, this is the land of birth and growth and home to our spring season mnokme. Yellow is the color of this direction, symbolizing the rays of the sun and one of the four races of man Creator placed on earth.  Here our medicine sema (tobacco) grows. Gifted from the Creator, tobacco is the most revered and powerful of all our medicines. Smoke from sema is the visible thoughts and prayers used to communicate with Mamogosnan [Creator].

Wech gshatek [south], translated as “where the hot is”, is where the sun is highest in the sky and home to our summer season Niben. With an abundance of life, birds migrate here in the winter, returning to their homes each spring with the seeds of life. Red is the color of this direction, symbolizing the fires of energy, strength and passion that burn within our youths and adolescents. Red also signifies one of the four races of man Creator placed on Mother Earth. South is where we find our medicine kishki (Cedar), used to purify the body of disease and for protection from evil.

Wech-bgeshmok [west], translated as “where the sun goes down”, is the land of the setting sun and home to our autumn season dgwaget. As we conduct our fall harvest and make final preparations for winter, this reminds us that in adulthood we must prepare for the world beyond this one. Here lies our western door, the path we must take when passing from this world to the next. Black is the color of this direction, symbolizing darkness and the unknown. Black also signifies one of the four races of man Creator placed on Mother Earth. Wech-bgeshmok [west] is the land of the Jigwék [Thunderbeings], and beyond it powerful mnedok (spirits) make their home. Growing here is our medicine wabshkebyek (sage). Used to purify the body and surroundings, its smoke promotes good health.

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