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Medicine Wheel tree is dedicated
12 May 2004

Students planting tree
TJES 8th Grade student Alexaundria Cadotte supplies a shovel of soil during the Medicine Wheel tree dedication. Looking on from left are students Elizabeth Lunderman, Whitney Pretty On Top, Instructor Glenna Mueller, student Sundae RedBird and Green Committee member Bernard Strikes Enemy.

BISMARCK, ND - The Cottonwood tree at the center of the United Tribes Medicine Wheel was dedicated on North Dakota Arbor Day, Friday, May 7. UTTC President David M. Gipp led the dedication, which included a group of staff members who serve on the campus beautification committee, now known as the "Green Committee," and four students from Theodore Jamerson Elementary School.

      A printed dedication program contained the following explanation:

      The United Tribes Technical College Medicine Wheel is a physical symbol on the surface of Mother Earth, of our relationship with the universe. Represented in the radiating spokes are the four cardinal directions. The four quadrants contain the primary colors that characterize the major eras of life, and also can be seen to represent the races of people. The outer pathway forms the circle of life.

      At the center of the Medicine Wheel is planted the tree of life. The tree is a Cottonwood, which grows abundantly in the watershed areas of the Great Plains and is a frequent choice for tribal ceremonies. This particular tree is an historic Cottonwood from Smith Grove near Sanger, North Dakota, 40 miles north of Mandan. The largest Cottonwood trees in the region are found there along a free-flowing stretch of the Missouri River. Explorers Lewis and Clark camped nearby; passing the majestic ancestors of this tree that reached nearly 100 feet into the sky.

      Undamaged by the hand of man, the trees of that grove recall the forested, river bottom setting that was known, used and loved by many different tribes of people up and down the river. Because so much of the river's habitat was destroyed in modern times, trees from that location symbolize the resilience of Mother Earth to withstand man-made adversity, and form a living connection to a time when tribal people flourished in harmony with the land. Through this tree and the medicine wheel where it stands, those times can be tapped for inspiration and guidance in body, mind, spirit and heart.

      Tree Dedication Participants included Theodore Jamerson 8th Grade Elementary School Students Elizabeth Lunderman, Sundae RedBird, Alexundria Cadotte, Whitney Pretty On Top, and instructor Glenna Mueller; UTTC Green Committee members Anne Kuyper (Chairperson), Joe Many Bears, Bernard Strikes Enemy, Spike Medicine Horse, Mike Stockert and Dennis Neumann; UTTC President David M. Gipp, Dean of Finance Shirley Bordeaux, Dean of Student and Campus Services Russell Swagger and Administrative Assistant Wes Long Feather.


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