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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bethesda in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

A Totem For Healing

 
 
A Totem For Healing Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 23, 2014
1. A Totem For Healing Marker
Inscription. The National Library of Medicine's healing totem was created to promote good health, in keeping with the mission of the doctors and scientists who work here at NIH to advance our knowledge of health and medicine. Master carver Jewell James of the Lummi Nation in the Pacific Northwest explains that figures in this totem are based on stories of his tribe and of the Algonquin Nation in the Northeastern United States.

The totem was carved from a 500-year-old red cedar tree from the Northern Cascade Mountains of Washington State.

Medicine Woman in the Moon
The Algonquin story of the Medicine Woman in the Moon teaches us to appreciate and protect our knowledge, and to understand that the answers to some questions may take a long time to be revealed. In the story, a powerful woman healer, gifted with the knowledge to cure many ailments, wished to know when the world would end. Told by a spirit that she could learn this secret only if she hid away from other humans, she traveled to the Moon, which protects the earth by night. She still waits there patiently today and, when the Moon is full, she can be seen weaving a headband. Once her question is answered, she will return home. Red, black, white and yellow signify the four races of mankind. All four are included to represent the idea that traditional knowledge
A Totem For Healing Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, August 14, 2013
2. A Totem For Healing Marker
and medicines are indigenous to all four races on the earth.

Tree of Life
A powerful symbol not just of Native American beliefs but in many cultures worldwide. The Tree represents the forests from which medicines were gathered.

Woman with a Gathering Basket
Symbolizing the role of women in collecting traditional herbs and medicinal plants.

Colors        Meaning
Red         Blood and Valor
Blue        Water and sky
White      Skies and spacious heavens
Yellow     Sun, light and happiness
Green      Earth with hills, trees and mountains
Black       Power

 
Location. 38° 59.756′ N, 77° 5.861′ W. Marker is in Bethesda, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from Rockville Pike. Click for map. Marker is in front of the National Library of Medicine 8600 Rockville Pike on the NIH campus. Marker is in this post office area: Bethesda MD 20892, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bear and the Steelhead (here, next to this marker); Raven and the Sun (here, next to this marker); Tree of Hippocrates (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Tree of Hippocrates
A Totem For Healing image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 23, 2014
3. A Totem For Healing
(about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line but has been reported missing); President Franklin D. Roosevelt (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Louis Stokes Laboratories (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Centennial Anchor (approx. 0.4 miles away); From Trolley to Trail (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Bethesda.
 
Also see . . .
1. Healing Totem. Native Voices Native Peoples' Concepts of Health and Illness Exhibit at The National Library of Medicine. (Submitted on October 10, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.) 

2. Installation of the Healing Totem at NLM. (Submitted on October 10, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.)
 
Categories. Native AmericansScience & Medicine
 
Medicine Woman in the Moon image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 23, 2014
4. Medicine Woman in the Moon
Tree of Life image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 23, 2014
5. Tree of Life
Woman with a Gathering Basket image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 23, 2014
6. Woman with a Gathering Basket
Cross Section of the NLM Healing Totem Tree image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 9, 2014
7. Cross Section of the NLM Healing Totem Tree
A cross section of the base of the 500-Year-old Pacific Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) is on display in the NLM lobby. The old tree fell naturally in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and was carved by Jewell Praying Wolf James into the Healing Totem.
Jewell Praying Wolf James image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 9, 2014
8. Jewell Praying Wolf James
This 2011 photo of Jewell Praying Wolf James is displayed in the NLM lobby.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 170 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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