Indigenous Peoples have used talking circles and practiced inclusion and collaboration for millennia. All leaders in a tribal council are heard, without interruption. Decision-making happens in a circle, and all living things are viewed as equal within the circle.
Power-with is a dialogue, where everyone stands on the ground, face to face.
The colonial history of Canada is brutal and shameful. We have been reminded of this by the recent discoveries of unmarked graves containing the remains of hundreds of children near former residential schools. Colonialism is power-over in its most insidious form, covered over by lies.
What I was taught in school was either incomplete or untrue.
One Step at a Time
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is making 94 Calls to Action, which includes building relationships between non-Indigenous and Indigenous Peoples. Getting to know one person, attending one potluck, participating in one Pow Wow at a time. Taking that risk to fully show up with sincerity and openness.
Truth can be deceptive and reconciliation evasive.
Jackie Ottmann, member of the Fishing Lake First Nations, Treaty 4 Territory, and President of First Nations University of Saskatchewan says, “Reconciliation begins with self,” and that we must connect with ourselves emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually in order to move into spaces of reconciliation.
The future is together, requiring an alignment of ways. Reconciling ways of speaking, listening and making decisions. The Sociocratic Circle-organisation Method (SCM) uses circles, rounds and consent to make decisions in ways that are compatible with talking circles.
Power-with decision-making shifts the patterns of colonialism.
At the local level
An Indigenous friend and I share our enthusiasm for working in circles and sharing in rounds. We find compatibility with aspects of her Indigenous culture. Together we have introduced the SCM to a non-profit organization where she is a member.
Working together starts at the personal level.
At the national level
Canada has officially appointed its first Indigenous Governor General, Inuk leader Mary Simon. This is both remarkable and timely. While uncovering a hidden past it is time to move forward. She sees “…reconciliation as a way of life that requires work every day. Reconciliation is getting to know one another.”
Boldly, I contacted her office to see how I could contribute. I’ll keep you posted!
To learn more about the SCM and how it aligns with Indigenous ways, schedule a free introductory consultation.
Thanks to Gina Price for editing assistance with this blog.
A founding member of The Sociocracy Consulting Group, Francine Proulx-Kenzle’s vision is a world in which all voices are heard with respect and candor, and where decisions are made collaboratively to contribute to better working and living environments.