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Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Small diameter sticks or dead branches from trees or bushes, or dowels cut to 12-inch lengths - one for each participant plus a few extra
  • Small feathers, real or synthetic
  • String, yarn, or cord in assorted colors and textures
  • Buttons
  • Markers, glue, and scissors (including left-handed scissors)
  • Optional: Small bells and seashells

Preparation for Activity

  • Break or cut branches into approximately 12-inch sections.
  • Make one talking stick to show as an example.
  • Set materials on work tables.

Description of Activity

Participants make personal talking sticks like those made in the story.

Invite participants to each take a stick and choose materials to decorate it with. Let participants know that their talking stick can look any way they like: They can tie feathers, bells, and buttons to the stick and place them so that when the stick moves they create a sound. They can wrap their sticks with string. They can color the sticks with markers.

Remind participants that talking sticks are not waved around or used in any other way than being passed around a circle. They are used in sacred circles and are not used as weapons.

Talking sticks should be left to dry overnight if needed. If applicable, tell participants the group will use the sample talking stick in a future session.

Including All Participants

Help tie knots or bows on the sticks, as needed. Ask co-leaders or volunteer participants to help younger participants or participants with physical limitations make a talking stick.

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