Council circle

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A council circle is a distinctive feature at the center of some Indigenous tribal communities.

Historically, the physical structure of the council circles suggest a ceremonial function, while others suggest a forum for political discussion in an egalitarian or democratic style.

In current use, the council circle is often synonymous with the talking circle, and is a means of group communication that promotes equal input from all participants. A talking stick, or other significant object, is passed around the circle, and only the circle member holding the stick is allowed to speak. Talking circles are a common feature of the Restorative Justice process.[1]

From early photographs, we know that some talking sticks were very tall, suggesting that circle participants would have stood when speaking.[2]


  1. ^ Umbreit, Mark, "Talking Circles." Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking. University of Minnesota, 2003
  2. ^ Edward Curtis Photograph

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