Sunday 10 July 2011
Respect the Talking Stick
The Talking Stick was a method used by Native Americans to let everyone speak their mind during a tribal meeting. According to tradition, the stick was imbued with spiritual qualities that called up the spirits of their ancestors to guide them in making good decisions. All members of the circle had equal rank, and the stick ensured that anyone who wished to speak could have their ideas heard.
“Whoever holds the talking stick has within his hands the power of words. Only he can speak while he holds the stick, and the other council members must remain silent. The eagle feather tied to the stick gives him the courage and wisdom to speak truthfully and wisely. The rabbit fur on the end of the stick reminds him that his words must come from his heart.” Locust, 1998
At Bohemia Amsterdam, we prefer to use this method symbolically. We don’t sit in a circle or hand out sticks to anyone who wants to speak (but we sure do like our tepee). The fact that we prefer to listen over speaking helps us to understand clients, situations and questions.