Native American Talking Sticks
In order that councils are conducted in a dignified fashion, the Native American talking stick came into being. According to the rules established, only the person who is holding the talking stick is allowed to speak. The discussion is usually be started by the chief. When he is finished speaking, he passes the talking stick to the next man. Everyone who wants to add an opinion is given a chance to do so, without interruption. Those listening can disagree with what the speaker is saying, but they cannot prevent him from talking.
Native American talking sticks have evolved as a way for councils to be conducted without friction. By allowing only one person at a time to speak, all viewpoints can be covered. The talking stick is considered to be an important ritual item and is highly respected. As with many other aspects of Indian culture, design differences have developed among different tribes. Some Native American talking sticks are very elaborate, while others are simpler in design.
Part of the way the first Americans express themselves, is through their ties to the natural world. While living so close to nature for so many centuries, it is hardly surprising that these people identify with the living elements around them. It is because of this, that the materials that go into making an Indian talking stick are so carefully chosen. The wood that will make up the body of the stick is very important. Aspen might be used as it would symbolize the ability to examine things with clarity. If a more peaceful council is sought, white pine might be used. If the speakers are desired to speak with strength and force, oak would be the wood of choice. It is probable that a tribe has several talking sticks on hand.
Native American talking sticks can be decorated in a number of ways. The colors used are also symbolically significant. Feathers are almost always present, and fur from various animals might be wrapped around one end. Fringes and tufts of leather add a very nice touch. Beads are also worked into the Indian talking stick, and their colors have great significance as well. There is no mistaking the decorative possibilities of a Native American talking stick in your home. As part of a display, combined with smudging fans, a flute, and perhaps a tomahawk, it can make a definite statement. The talking stick can add one more element of authenticity to your home, and bring it that much closer to the traditions of the Native Americans.
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