What are the medicine wheel colors and what do the colors mean?

What are the medicine wheel colors and what do the colors mean?

If you want to know what the four colors of the medicine wheel mean, then we're here to share the different teachings behind the medicine wheel colors. 

We've gathered the top three questions and answers about the medicine wheel colors.

What are the colors?

The medicine wheel has four areas of a circle that have four different colors assigned to them. These colors are most often yellow, red, black, and white. But why these colors? There are many teachings and stories behind why these colors are significant and what order or position that they should be on the medicine wheel. Different tribes and nations have different medicine wheel teachings based on their own stories, values, and beliefs and one is not more correct than another. Different nations might use blue and/or green instead of another color. The medicine wheel color location and other attributes that are assigned to each direction are usually based on who taught you the teaching and where their teachings came from. If you haven't already watched it, then watch this video right here on what is a medicine wheel.


Why are these colors important?

 The teaching that I was taught is that the four colors represent the four nations of people on the earth. In this medicine wheel yellow is on the East as it represents people from Asia, red represents the indigenous people of North America, black represents black people, and white represents white people or people from Europe. That's what I was taught anyway. I love that each color symbolizes each nation of people as it speaks to equality because each area is balanced and therefore it represents diversity. Some people use the four colors and different locations on the medicine wheel depending on what they were taught. These four colors are sacred to indigenous people, but other nations or tribes might use blue and/or green instead of one of the other colors. Another way of looking at where the colors go is in association with the directions, which brings us to the third question.

What order should the colors be in?

The four areas of the medicine wheel have many different attributes assigned to them. The four directions, four sacred medicines, four seasons, four elements, four sacred colors. East is where the sun rises, which is why yellow is on the Eastern doorway or the Eastern area of the medicine wheel. East represents the beginning, the new beginning of life. Therefore the spring season is attributed to that section of the circle. South represents the next stage of life being youth, the next season which is summer, and the color red. West, I was taught that black represents the sun setting and the day ending, the fall season, adulthood, etc. North and white is at the top representing the color of the clouds in the sky as well as the winter season, which closes out the year. I've also been taught that white represents the moon in the middle of the night.


If you like these medicine wheel teachings, then download our free printable medicine wheel poster at the link above. Now you know the medicine wheel colors and what each of the colors and directions mean to indigenous people.



    Uplifting and informative!

  • Jeannette Gervais

    I love the teachings behind the Medicine Wheel. I’m currently on a path to learn more about my family’s indigenous roots. I’ve always known that we were Indigenous but the knowledge through the generations has been lost – my family was colonized unfortunately. We’ve always felt that something of great importance was missing and through doing our genealogy, we’ve found some of our roots. So, as a family, we are in the youth of our knowledge, although my sibling and I are in the Winter of our lives but as we learn, we are sharing the knowledge we’ve gained with the next generations. The Medicine Wheel teaches us so much and I’m grateful for the knowledge I’ve gained from watching your videos and taking courses on the ‘true’ history of our peoples, slowly learning and sharing! Thank you so much!! I hope this makes sense. My genealogy so far indicates that we have Wendat and Algonquin in two of our lines on my father’s side and I know, through word of mouth, that we also have more Indigenous roots through my mother’s lines but I have yet to uncover those lines. We continue as a family to not only search our roots but to learn all we can and once again bring those teachings to our lives and that of our children and grand-children.

  • Jack Taves

    I first saw the medicine wheel while touring the Grand Canyon. I’m now working on an industrial site, the security company is All Nation Security using the medicine wheel as part of their crest

  • Katarina Black

    Megwich, Meh namah ahhuk Andakwa. Sending a verbal tobacco tie. You are such a blessing taking the time to share your knowledge and experiences with us. Please never stop. A’ho

  • chantal girouard

    hi, I’m a elementary school librarian. I want to raise native american awareness. I light of orange tshirt day, I wanted to put a medicine wheel on my shirt. I wanted to be able to explain what it was and why it was important.
    Thank you

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