indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Indian Law Online Master Degree
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Native Sun News: Native medicine wheel model sees followers
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Filed Under: Health | National
More on: native sun news, south dakota
 
The following story was written and reported by Talli Nauman, Native Sun News Health & Environment Editor. All content © Native Sun News.


Phillip Whiteman Jr., right, and his partner, Lynette Two Bulls, teach natural horsemanship based on the medicine wheel concept. PHOTO COURTESY/PHILLIP WHITEMAN JR.

Medicine wheel model for horsemanship attracts wide range of followers
By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News
Health & Environment Editor

RAPID CITY — More and more people are adopting the Medicine Wheel Model to Natural Horsemanship, not only for equestrian proficiency but also to achieve mental and physical health improvements, practitioners revealed during an event at the civic center and fairgrounds Oct. 4-5.

The model, developed by Northern Cheyenne Phillip Whiteman Jr. and Oglala Lakota Lynette Two Bulls, of Lame Deer, Mont., was the centerpiece of the Fourth Annual Healing the Sacred Child Through the Spirit of the Horse conference.

“We use horses to connect to the human spirit, to heal the children,” Whiteman told Native Sun News. “It’s growing, it’s a movement.”

“We take this model and it teaches philosophical values we can use in our life,” Two Bulls said. “It uses right-brain circular thinking for reconnecting to the spirit, place of origin and values that our ancestors lived by.” Whiteman demonstrated the model with a horse in the arena, explaining how each one of the quarters of a horse corresponds to a quadrant of the medicine wheel, sacred symbol of the circle of life “where we are all connected – man, animal and all living things,” as he puts it.

A former champion saddle bronc rider, Whiteman has abandoned the use of power tactics in horse handling, shunning manipulation of the predator-prey relationship. He stresses instead the importance of fostering a reciprocal relationship between human and horse.

Two Bulls’ daughter Kyla, who Whiteman helped raise from the age of six, used the model for a high school science project that made her the first Native American in Montana to take the top prize in the state science fair. She also won the National American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Fair in Albuquerque, N.M.

Her project “The Blood Sugar Chemistry in Horses” compared the effect of diet and exercise on two pairs of horses. One pair consisted of the grass-fed horses of an Amish community, who were exercised pulling a buggy on a 40-mile daily round trip to Ashland. The other pair was her school’s horses, who were grain-fed and not exercised, she explained at the conference.

From the higher glucose levels in the latter group, she concluded that their bodies could not utilize the comparatively larger starch amounts in grain, especially without exercise. From that she went on to draw a comparison:

“I always had a love for horses and my parents started the process of developing the medicine wheel model. One of the main ideas is the concept of how Native people and horses mirror each other,” she said.

“Our lifestyles have changed with our horses, we once lived off the land, natural, like our horses. Once the government came, we started to rely on rations; our horses were no longer needed to hunt. Our horses developed colic and much more. Our people developed diabetes.”

Stretching the mirror concept further, she used it to argue a point for good nutrition. “Even though we should exercise and feed our horses right, we need to improve our own health first, before setting foot near a horse,” she said.

Social workers across the country involved in foster care training, alcohol and substance abuse recovery, mental and behavioral health therapy and juvenile rehabilitation programs are putting the medicine wheel horsemanship model to the test.

“Our medicine wheel family is growing,” Lynette Two Bulls commented. She said 35 social workers in government institutions are involved, many of whom were among the approximately 100 people attending the conference.

The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board has begun to accept horse therapy in several grant-supported program areas, according to psychologist Jessica White Plume, a native of Manderson, on the Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota, who lives in the Mandan Hidatsa & Arikara Nation located in North Dakota.

“The health board has really gone out of their way,” she said. “Tribal leaders have said, ‘We believe when people connect with the horse and the land, this is health’.”

A doctor in clinical psychology with a specialty in mental health, White Plume confirmed that horse therapy is becoming popular worldwide.

“We are part of a new era,” she said. “People are ready to support us if we can come out of the box and say what we believe.”

However, she said, she doesn’t really consider it to be horse therapy. “I don’t call it that; I call it horse wellness treatment,” she told conference-goers.

“We teach how to reach out to nature and to the horse to make a lifestyle change. People in treatment who are able to just have families come out and ride, that is mental health,” she said. “Being with horses touches them in a different way; it reminds them of deep truths of the universe they have within themselves,” she added.

Conference keynote speaker Roy Shelton, an ordained minister from Detroit, told Native Sun he took part in the conference because the medicine wheel horsemanship model is “similar and directly related” to his own professional work training teachers both on- and off-reservation to coach right-brain thinkers in their classrooms.

About 20 percent of students are right-brain, or circular, thinkers. They struggle both in school and outside because standard teaching is left-brain oriented, or linear. Among them are geniuses and successful public figures, including Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy and Michael Jordan, he said.

“The medicine wheel model is a way of teaching that we are spiritually connected, we need each other and depend upon each other,” he added.

The model made the headlines in the glossy, national Cowboys & Indians magazine this April. It drew television journalist Jim Thompson to interview Whiteman for the Blue Highways show. The American Paint Horse Association’s magazine had an article in its winter edition about Whiteman blessing the world equestrian games.

An introduction to the model is available on DVD at www.medicinewheelmodel.com. It is intended to be the first in a series of training lessons. Western Sky Media Inc. of Spearfish recorded and edited the production with support from First Peoples Fund.

(Contact Talli Nauman at talli.nauman@gmail.com)


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Cobell settlement checks landing in Indian Country mailboxes (9/18)
Peter d'Errico: Connecting mascots to racism and termination (9/18)
Opinion: Eliminating NFL team's racist mascot is just the start (9/18)
Student newspaper punished over refusal to print the R-word (9/18)
City won't allow vote on Tohono O'odham Nation casino plan (9/18)
North Fork Rancheria banks on voter approval of casino deal (9/18)
Mashantucket Tribe's gaming executive to resign next month (9/18)
Column: Time for Mohegan Tribe to show its hand over casino (9/18)
Native Sun News: Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe honors veterans (9/17)
Mark Trahant: Is independence in the future for tribal nations? (9/17)
Audio: SCIA takes up bill to bar Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/17)
House approves bill to address tribal general welfare programs (9/17)
House Natural Resources Committee sets markup on tribal bills (9/17)
House subcommittee to hold hearing on bill for Hualapai Tribe (9/17)
9th Circuit takes up Big Lagoon Rancheria gaming land dispute (9/17)
House passes bill to shield Gun Lake Tribe casino from litigation (9/17)
Andre Cramblit: Enjoying life at Dartmouth as a Native student (9/17)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Tribes need to lead climate change reform (9/17)
Sarah Deer wins genius grant for work to protect Native women (9/17)
Tex Hall loses bid for another term as chair of North Dakota tribe (9/17)
Group starts dragging of river in search of missing Native women (9/17)
Appeal filed over Navajo language ability of presidential hopeful (9/17)
Trial delayed for leader of Muscogee Nation accused in theft case (9/17)
Editorial: Pass bill to extend federal recognition to Virginia tribes (9/17)
NLRB reaffirms jurisdiction over Little River Band gaming facility (9/17)
Chumash Tribe to use labor unions for all work on casino project (9/17)
Student arrested over theft at Saginaw Chippewa Tribe's casino (9/17)
Native Sun News: Homeless students find support in Rapid City (9/16)
Checks from final payment of Cobell settlement put in the mail (9/16)
DOI offers $9.4M for Cobell buy-backs on Umatilla Reservation (9/16)
House takes up bill to address tribal general welfare programs (9/16)
Tribal leaders headed to Capitol Hill to push legislative priorities (9/16)
NMAI hosts symposium on treaties to coincide with new exhibit (9/16)
Witnesses: Hearing on bill to bar Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/16)
Rival tribes spend $13M to block Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/16)
Mark Charles: Trail of Tears sign points to much deeper problem (9/16)
Donna Ennis: Don't let ethnic imposters take away our identity (9/16)
Serial killer sentenced to life term for murder of Native woman (9/16)
Civil rights complaint filed over repeated denial of honor song (9/16)
Sen. Cantwell to introduce bill to end NFL's tax-exempt status (9/16)
House backs package to transfer federal land to Te-Moak Tribe (9/16)
Fort Belknap Tribe detained state game warden for trespassing (9/16)
Mohegan Tribe to open first Smashburger location in December (9/16)
Police in Ontario investigate letter that threatens Native people (9/16)
Urban Indian population grows in Brazil's poorest neighborhoods (9/16)
Indian family in Washington continues bid for casino on allotment (9/16)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe challenges NLRB jurisdiction over casino (9/16)
Mohegan Tribe loses bid for commercial casino in Massachusetts (9/16)
more headlines...


Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.