Traditional beliefs hold the Circle of Life to be sacred because the Great Spirit caused everything in nature to be round: the Sun, the Sky, the Earth and Moon are all round as are the four
directions, the cycles of the year and night and day as well as the path of one’s life: childhood to old age.
The mural tells a story of Wisconsin Indians. On the left, you see the creation story of the Menominee people. A bear emerges from the water, giving his life to give life to man. 10,000 years ago
they lived in villages by the mouth of what is now called the Menominee River. This is the one tribe of Indians that has not migrated from somewhere else, always living in the Wisconsin area.
In the middle section of the mural, you see women in traditional dress, both leather and fabric. The floral and leaf designs are typical of the Woodland Indians, the three tribes living in the
Wisconsin area in the 1800’s—Potawatomi, Menominee, and Ho-Chunk. Ribbons, beads, shells, and eagle feather are used in the designs. One of the women is wearing a jingle dress said to be an aid in
In the distance in the middle section, the Grand Entry of a Pow-Wow is shown. First comes an Indian carrying the eagle staff, next the United States flag, the Veterans POW flag, and then the
Tribal Nation flag. The princess and tribal leaders follow and then the traditional dancers. This Pow-Wow honors Mother Earth by dancing to the drum beats which replicates the heartbeat of Mother
The right section of the mural with its two circles depicts the totemic animals and birds of some of the many clans of Wisconsin Indians: the Ho-Chunk, bear, thunderbird; Menominee, bear, wolf,
crane and eagle; Chippewa, crane, bear, thunderbird; Oneida, turtle, wolf, and bear; Stockbridge-Munsee, wolf, bear, and turtle; and Potawatomi, crane, bear, and eagle.
Bright bands of color with geometric designs on the right and left edges of the mural are reminiscent of bead work while the borders at the top and bottom have curving bands of color as is found
in ribbon work. A Peyote Bird is seen at both bottom corners, a symbol of the Native American Church.