Published on March 10, 2014 by Amy
The Sioux Indians, also known as the Dakota Indians, were a very large tribe of Native Americans who were known to live near the Mississippi River in the17th century. Named “Nadowessioux” by the French explorers who happened upon the civilization, the Sioux owned the land from the Arkansas River to Lake Winnipeg and to the Rocky Mountains. The Sioux have four sacred colors, each of which has a purpose among the people and each of which plays a part in the legend and function of dream catchers and medicine wheels.
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The medicine wheel is a symbol of every individual’s path and the steps they must take to get to that path. Grouped into fours, the symbols of the medicine wheel represent what the Sioux considered the number of harmony and completeness. The four sacred colors are included in the medicine wheel: white, yellow, red and black. The colors also represent the four races; the four elements, air, water, fire and earth; the four directions, north south, east and west; the four seasons and the cycles of life — birth, life, death and afterlife.
In the medicine wheel, the red section is on the top, right-hand side of the four corners. The color red symbolizes many things, including the North and because this was considered the place where the ancient ones and the ancestors passed, red also meant wisdom. It symbolizes the last phase of the cycle of life: the afterlife.
The second of the four sacred colors is white. White represents the South and stands for youth and friendship. It symbolizes the second phase of the cycle of life, which is life. The white quarter of the medicine wheel is on the bottom, left side.
Yellow is the third sacred color. It is located on the bottom, right-hand corner of the medicine wheel and it represents the east. Yellow also symbolizes family and the beginning of life, or birth.
Black is the last of the sacred colors, though all are equally important. It represents solitude and growing old as well as the second to last portion of the cycle of life: death. The black part of the medicine wheel is on the top, left-hand corner.