Native American Totems

Discovering the medicine and lessons learned from the spirits of animals and all living things.

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The message and tradition of The Talking Stick really speaks to the very core of my soul. I think many people have seen the practice in movies and probably didn’t realize the significance of this powerful stick. It represents viewpoints and options and in my mind respect of others.

This tool has been and is used by many Native American Peoples when a Council is called.  By using the Talking Stick each person at the council is allowed to present their Sacred Point of View.  It is passed from person to person as they speak and only the person holding the stick is allowed to speak during the time they hold it.  An Answering Feather is also sometimes used. The holder of the Talking Stick also holds the Answering Feather and will pass the feather to a person to answer a question if asked.

In essence this is a form of parliamentary procedure which recognizes the value of each and every speaker. It has been used for centuries by Native Peoples.  The Talking Stick is a visual sign to remind the members of the meeting to listen carefully at what each person says so that when they hold the stick their comments will not repeat information or be off topic.  It also reminds them of their personal honor to allow everyone their own Sacred Point of View.

It is the responsibility of the Tribe or group who is hosting the Council to make the Talking Stick for that meeting.  It can be made of any of the Standing People (tree).  However, there is certain Medicine given by the different types of trees and that will play into the choice for the Talking Stick with what is hoped to be accomplished or the general overall feeling wanted for the Council.

  • White Pine is for Peace
  • Birch is for Truth
  • Evergreens is for continued growth
  • Cedar is for cleansing
  • Aspen is for seeing things clearly
  • Maple (sometimes used for Children) is for gentleness and sweetness
  • Elm is for wisdom
  • Mountain Ash is for protection
  • Oak is for strength
  • Cherry is for expression, high emotion, or love
  • Fruit woods for abundance
  • Walnut or Pecan is for a gathering of energy or beginning new projects

Every piece of decoration and color used on a Talking Stick has significance. Tomorrow I will teach you more about the Talking Stick as it is a long message but I feel it is an important one for all people. We may not hold an actual stick in our hands but if we could start to visualize one in our minds and begin to be respectful of the Sacred View Point of the people we encounter each day…wouldn’t the world be a much better place?

I’ve held my Talking Stick long enough for today and now I hand it to you…it is your turn to talk and my turn to listen.

~ Mitakuye Oyasin ~ We are all related

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