Bent Arrow’s philosophy is based on the Medicine Wheel or four directions teachings. The number four is sacred to many Indigenous peoples. The Medicine Wheel is used for ceremonial, astronomical, and symbolic teachings.

“[The Medicine Wheel] is an ancient symbol used by almost all of the Native people of North and South America. There are many different ways that this basic concept is expressed: the four grandfathers, the four winds, the four cardinal directions, and many other relationships that can be expressed in sets of four. Just like a mirror can be used to see things not normally visible (e.g. behind us or around a corner), the medicine wheel can be used to help us see or understand things we can’t quite see or understand because they are ideas and not physical objects.” From The Sacred Tree: Reflections on Native American Spirituality

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The majority of ancient medicine wheels are located in Alberta. At the core of the Wheel is miyo wicehtowin or good relationships. Good relationships among board members, in the office with staff, with community partners, and between workers and families are the cornerstone of Bent Arrow’s governance and service delivery. Good relationships come from the four directions of the Medicine Wheel, which are “humanness”, “reflection”, “passion”, “spirituality.” The teachings of the Medicine Wheel are about becoming a balanced human being who has a positive relationship with self and with others.


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