Fargo VA Health Care System
Veteran Talking Circle
Join us in the Fargo VA Chapel for Veteran Talking Circles taking place throughout the month of March.
The talking circle is a traditional way for Native American people to solve problems. It is a very effective way to remove barriers and to allow people to express themselves with complete freedom. The symbolism of the circle, with no beginning and with nobody in a position of prominence, serves to encourage people to speak freely and honestly about things that are on their minds.
There are a few very simple guidelines that allow a talking circle to function:
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 with respect - 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. Listen in the way you expect others to hear you.
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.
When convening a circle, smudging the participants with sage will help dispel any negativity they may be carrying with them. In a way, it's like 'wiping' your spiritual 'feet' before entering the circle. As well, keeping a sage smudge burning during the circle, particularly when emotions are intense, will help keep negativity from entering. This will be determined by the facilitator.
All are welcome. If you have any questions, contact Harold Lindsay, Minority Veterans Program Coordinator at 1-800-410-9723, ext: 9-3562.
Talking Circle Scheduled for March:
March 12 at 9:30 a.m.
March 21 at 2:00 p.m.
March 28 at 3:00 p.m.
The VA Main Chapel is located at teh Fargo VA Health Care facility in room 3C-10 (3056).