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Indigenous Talking Circles

The purpose of the circle is to create a safe healing space where participants can freely express themselves. Where people can share their feelings, opinions and lived experiences.
 Rooted in indigenous ceremonial traditions, circles are useful when dealing with pain, struggles and emotional and spiritual trauma. 

This process helps people gain a sense of trust in each other and helps build healthy relationships and creates a sense of belonging.  They also gain an appreciation for points of view other than their own. During the circle time, people are free to respond however they want as long as they follow the guidelines.

Structure and Guidelines


Participants sit in a circle and pass along a talking stick such as an eagle’s feather, or any other sacred object, from one person to another.  The person holding the sacred object is the only one allowed to speak. A traditional circle opens up with a prayer or petition, a participant then proceeds to speak without interruption. Participants are expected to listen respectfully until the speaker has finished. 


The circle symbolizes unity and support that enables us to speak freely and without judgment. This creates oneness with others, which can open-up to a mental and spiritual healing. We are there only to listen, but we can provide a list of additional resources if requested by a participant.

1) Only one person speaks at a time - only the person holding the feather or talking stick may speak. Dialogues are not part of the circle, as they can become confrontational.

2) Introduce yourself - it is polite to introduce yourself in the first round. Use your spirit name, if you have one; otherwise, use your given name.

3) Speak from the heart - the speaker should address the circle from the heart, and may speak for as long as they need to, with respect for the time of others.

4) Listen the way you want others to hear you- all people except the speaker listen attentively and give support to the speaker. Listening with the heart allows you to hear the true intent beneath what the speaker is saying. 

5) What is said in the circle stays in the circle - never repeat anything that is said within the circle, unless you have the permission of the speaker

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