Talking Stick and Spirituality LO20176

Jean Alvarez (
Mon, 14 Dec 1998 08:41:54 -0500

Replying to LO20101 --

Doc Holloway told of his decision to use the image of a microphone rather
than a talking stick, to avoid appropriating spiritual symbols into
non-spiritual settings.

I think this raises a wonderful question. I share the concern about a
cheap appropriation of spiritual symbols, especially from native
traditions that I value, but know too little about. I recognize that that
can feel like (and probably is) a kind of cultural imperialism. But I
struggle with how to put that concern together with the integration of
spirituality and the workplace that lots of us are thinking/writing about.

I also know that when I use a symbol like the talking stick, and introduce
it with care, it does help people shift into a different way of
approaching dialogue---less from the head only; more from an integrated

So I wonder, are others puzzling about how to benefit from using symbols
like the talking stick without doing violence to the cultures they come
from or to our own understanding of those cultures?

Jean Alvarez
Organizational Leadership
1439 Marlowe Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107
(216) 228-8253
(216) 941-3430 FAX (flag for Jean Alvarez)

-- (Jean Alvarez)

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