Medicine Wheel Garden Grand Opening

Medicine Wheel Garden Grand Opening

The High Plains Environmental Center (HPEC) is celebrating the installation of its Medicine Wheel Garden, an ethnobotanical garden that showcases native plants utilized by Plains Indian tribes.

The first phase of the garden, a dance grounds that will serve as a permanent space for the Thompson School District’s annual 3rd grade educational powwow, was built by the Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado on Earth Day (4/22/18).

Future phases of the garden will have a wide range of plants used by various Plains tribes for food, ceremony, and medicine. The plants will be labeled with the common and scientific names, as well as the plant names in the Lakota language. The traditional territory of the seven western Sioux (Lakota) tribes includes North and South Dakota, as well as eastern Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. The Lakota name for the Front Range is He Ska (Hey Shka), the shining mountains.

HPEC’s Executive Director Jim Tolstrup notes that “native plants provide a window into a world that was inhabited for thousands of years prior to the arrival of European settlers. Knowing the original names and uses of these plants helps us to understand the land as the first Americans saw it.”

There will be a celebration of Native American culture to honor this new space on June 21st, from 5:30pm-7:30pm. In 2006 Lakota Chief, Arvol Looking Horse, received the Juliet Hollister, Temple of Understanding Award, at the United Nations for promoting June 21st as a worldwide day of peace and prayer “in the effort of healing our Ina Maka (Mother Earth).”

The Iron family of Fort Collins will share traditional song and dance. Snacks and soft drinks will be provided by HPEC. This event free and open to the community.