A well-known cultural symbol in Calgary will be fixed later this week after it was defaced on Wednesday.
The Nose Hill Siksikaitsitapi Medicine Wheel, a sacred landmark at Nose Hill Park, will be repaired by members of the Blackfoot Confederacy on Friday (Oct. 9) after it was apparently vandalized by a man sometime on Tuesday (Oct.6)
Calgarian Dave Anderson lives in the area. He often visits the Medicine Wheel – including earlier this week.
This time, he noticed something different.
A man was lying in the center of the wheel while Anderson was biking around the area with his kids.
“We could see immediately that a lot of the major structural rocks of it had been moved around,” said Anderson.
“Basically, that it had been destroyed and that somebody was in the very dead center of it, kind of laying down in the dirt.”
At first, Anderson said that he was uncertain of the situation, thinking that maybe the person was trying to comprehend what had happened.
On a second look, both him and his two sons were sure of what had gone on.
“My boys were pretty adamant that this guy is destroying it,” said Anderson.
He explained that the man was wandering around and picked up some of the rocks and grass that were part of the Medicine Wheel and put them in a satchel.
“It seemed as though he was impaired in some fashion,” said Anderson.
“Then I just talked to him and reemphasized that this spot is culturally significant.”
Significance of the Medicine Wheel
Members of the Blood Tribe built the Medicine Wheel in 2015 as part of an annual Blackfoot Confederacy conference.
It’s a modern landmark and a tribute to the historical and spiritual connection between the people and the land. It also marks the hill as part of the traditional Blackfoot territory.
Ward 4. Councilor Sean Chu condemned the destruction of the Medicine Wheel. He said that it’s significant to both the city and the members of the Blackfoot Confederacy and that it must be respected.
“This is an important part of Calgary’s history,” he said.
“And an important part for every member of the Confederacy as it is a part of their long history to the land.
“To the individual who did this, shame on you.”
He added that the Medicine Wheel will be fixed by members of the Blackfoot Confederacy on Friday.
Education and awareness is needed
Anderson said that he doesn’t know if the person destroying the Medicine Wheel was aware of what it symbolizes.
But he suggests that if there was a post or a sign explaining the significance of the landmark, it could avoid situations like this.
“It’s unfortunate that there’s not signage, or anything else to help bring people to an understanding that isn’t just a random collection of rocks,” he said.
“It’s significant culturally to our past, and we need to respect that. So, I would appreciate more awareness and education.”