Our Logo's Meaning
Dove and Olive Branch
The Native Medicine Wheel is important to many of the Native populations from North America to South America. Traditionally the Ojibwe medicine wheel is yellow in the east, red in the south, black in the west and white in the north...and that's what makes this medicine wheel that Healing Wounds incorporates unique and incredible. This medicine wheel was spun from an Ojibwe grandmother who created this wheel for the first of four vision quests that I participated in. If you click on the picture you will see that it is woven all the way around the wheel. She spent time to personally sit down and spin colors around the whole ring in preparation for this vision quest. Later on this medicine wheel was gifted to me from my Ojibwe elder with gratitude.
It is beautiful because for me it represents what I have been taught by Dakota teachers, "Mitakuye Oyasin" or "Gidinawendimin" in Ojibwe which means "We are all related". This has been a traditional teaching of the medicine wheel as it strings together the four colors of people in the world: White, Red, Black and Yellow skinned. We are all related. Thus the Native populations are literally our brothers and sisters. In addition every traditional teacher has also taught the our relation isn't just to each other, it is also to all of the elements and beings on the earth as well. We have the ability to learn from all of them. We have a responsibility to care for them all.
The symbol of the dove and the olive branch plays an important role in the Christian beliefs and is known throughout the many Christian denominations. The dove is representational of peace, of the holy spirit that was bestowed upon Christ as the story reflects that the Holy Spirit descended on him like a dove. It also represents new life as a dove was the first to bring back an olive leaf which signified the receding of the waters which covered the earth at the time of Noah.
The olive branch has significance as well. The olive branch is an extension of peace to another. When one seeks to create forgiveness and reconciliation it is often said that they are "extending the olive branch" to another. Olive oil is also traditionally used by many in the Christian Churches as an aid in healing.
Overall the extension of the olive branch in the case of the native populations is an extension of our compassion for what they have endured, humility for what we have created and sorrow the for sins that we have committed in harming our brothers and sisters. We extend the olive leaf in asking for forgiveness and we put forward our desire to help heal the harms that we have caused.
It reminds us of the scripture that Christ shared which says, "If thy brother hath ought against thee, leave thy gift at the altar and first be reconciled unto thy brother." In other words, Christ is stating that the most important thing is not putting religion first, but rather making sure that we are right with our fellow men. In this we are living our religion which at its core is Christian virtues and values.