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Case #741

The Talking Circle


How can we re-learn respect, understand the gifts of creation, and break the cycle of violence? In prisons, a Native American democratic tradition brings healing and new possibilities.


THE STRATEGY: "Many of our people (Native Americans) are seeking to mend the sacred hoop of the nation and return to the ways that worked for us and made us happy." (In the past, the sacred hoop, as long as it remained unbroken, allowed people to flourish.) By taking the traditional ritual of talking circles into prisons, the author can help Native Americans to heal and to become whole again.

WHAT WORKS: The author, who is Native American, now attends and facilitates 10 circles in New England prisons and he has witnessed their healing power. Here the men have found the only time in their week where they are treated like human beings, treated with respect, which we teach is not something that must be earned but should be accorded to all equally. Respect is the first of the Original Instructions for human beings. We are told to respect all of Creation, the Earth, and all beings on it. To respect the elders, the young, the women, the men, and all people no matter what their differences, and to respect ourselves. When that instruction is adhered to, the circle works miracles. When it is not, the circle may break down. Each man is allowed to speak his heart and is heard."
Location: New England, US
Action: Political, Restoration
Setting: Developed World
Extent of Action: Regional (within a country)
Issues: Human Rights, Indigenous
Year(s): 1974
Outcome successful
Source: YES! A Journal of Positive Futures Winter 2003, Page 44


Contact Manitonquat through Story Stone, 187 Merriam Hill Road, Greenville, NH 03048, or www.mettanokit.org
Prepared By: sl, 4/06
Rating: 1
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