Call it a wheel and it moves.

It appears in the literature in the mid 1990s where its motion is more stationary and map-like.

It is a simple, concrete map that helps people decipher parts of their being and points the way to healing of mind, body, and spirit. This, in turn, helps people to live more wholesome, balanced lives.

Herb Nabigon and Anne-Marie Mawhiney “Aboriginal Theory: A Cree Medicine Wheel Guide for Healing First Nations” in Turner Social Worker Treatment 4th Edition (1996).

[Note: The medicine wheel figures in this article are accompanied (outside the circle) by the illustration of an eagle feather: “The eagle feather represents balance.” The quadrant of the four directions is displayed with a centre.]

A version of the medicine wheel makes its appearance in government policy — 1994 in Ontario in the Aboriginal Health Policy.

1994 healing circle - An Aboriginal Framework for Wholistic Health and Well-Being

Here a concentric pattern maps onto the life cycle. The quadrant represents four dimensions: Mental, Emotional, Spiritual, Physical, and spokes radiate to represent four possible health interventions: Promotion, Prevention, Curative, Rehabilitation. Note that the circle of “adults” is not separated out into “women” and “men” (see below).

In 2011, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services releases Stepping Stones: A Resource on Youth Development. The model is influenced by Aboriginal research.

The interrelated and interdependent nature of human development can be considered as a circle (Figure 1), in which growth in one domain impacts and is connected to the others (Simard, 2011; Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres, 2011). […] Healthy development of the mind, body and spirit is—as our Aboriginal partners have long affirmed—contingent on balance and interconnectedness.

Stepping Stones places Self/Spirit at the hub. On the perimeter is the Environment/ Context. Distributed in the four quadrants are Social, Physical, Emotional and Cognitive. The Stepping Stones model is also referenced in the Ontario education curriculum (See Grade 1 to 6 Social Studies Curriculum Guide and the Grade 7 to 8 History and Geography

circles - self - Stepping Stones - ontario

A look at sources.

Simard’s diagram is almost identical (minus the presence of the “self” at the centre). “Developing a Culturally Restorative Approach to Aboriginal Child and Youth Development: Transitions to Adulthood” Estelle Simard, Shannon Blight in The First Peoples Child & Family Review Vol 6 No 1 (2011)

circle - Estelle Simard, Shannon Blight - 2011 - Aboriginal Worldview on Development

The OFIFC Position Paper “Our Sacred Responsibility – Protecting Aboriginal Children & Youth from Family Violence March 2011”. Its view of the social environment offers a gendered perspective.

circles - OFIFC Position Paper - Our Sacred Responsibility - Protecting Aboriginal Children & Youth from Family Violence March 2011

In “Setting the Context for Our Sacred Responsibility” the OFIFC paper offers an historical perspective:

Children were at the core of our societies and learned to see all things as interconnected and were given the responsibility to connect themselves in a respectful and caring way to everything around them at every moment and in every interaction. They were surrounded by Elders and grandparents as teachers, women as nurturers, and men as protectors.

The OFIFC paper puts forward an Aboriginal Resiliency framework based on the Cycle of Courage (Belonging, Mastery, Independence, and Generosity) developed by Martin Brokenleg and which places Culture at the centre.

circle - Cycle of Courage (Belonging, Mastery, Independence, and Generosity) developed by Martin Brokenleg

Cross-cultural resonance from a variety of sources:

World Health Organization (WHO) 1947 Constitution defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.

Earlier in the 20th century, post World War I, a holistic view is incorporated into the Waldorf schools:

The Steiner Waldorf early childhood approach takes as given the interdependence of physical, emotional, social, spiritual and cognitive development. It takes account of the whole child, including his/her soul qualities, and believes that children’s learning flourishes in a calm, peaceful, predictable, familiar and unhurried environment that recognises the child’s sensory sensitivities. Young children need to experience the relevance of their world before they separate themselves from it and begin to analyse it in a detached way.

Duane Elgin Voluntary Simplicity (1981; revised 1993)

Those choosing a simpler life: […] Tend to work on developing the full spectrum of their potentials: physical (running, biking, hiking, etc.), emotional (learning the skills of intimacy and sharing feelings in important relationships), mental (engaging in lifelong learning by reading, taking classes, etc.), and spiritual (learning to move through life with a quiet mind and compassionate heart).

As Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal sources inform each other, there are many mappings to explore and images to encounter and words and more words to explain the workings.

And so for day 1547

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