I was first introduced to the talking stick when I had to work on a project for the Big Droke Cultures Foundation and had a conversation with a Representative of the Bartlett’s Harbour Band Council. She had provided me with a wealth of knowledge of Aboriginal culture and values.
One topic of interest was the Talking Stick. She noted this item was of tribal significant when in a group. The most senior individual, usually a Chief if present will start talking and when holding the stick s/he would not be interrupted. It was meant for courtesy and when the person was finished they would pass it along to the next council member that had something to contribute. This seems like a good approach to conduct business. It appears more mannerly way of getting things done than some of the soundbites and theatrics that come from the House of Commons during question period.
I was fortunate during April 2010, to be able to sit down with an instructor at the Aboriginal Friendship Centre in Goose Bay, Labrador and make my very own talking stick. At one end, I painted the Labrador Flag with 2010 and the other the FINALY! symbol reflecting the administering organization overseeing the initiative of the Provincial Government’s Youth Retention & Attraction Strategy. In between, I got some inspiration from Vincent van Gough’s “Starry Night” as I painted an impressionable moon, stars, mountains, rivers and other reminders of natural Labrador. I am quite proud of my talking stick and the significance it has to the Aboriginal culture.
Immerse yourself in culture…
Christopher C. Mitchelmore