The Truth Telling Circle Guidelines

The Truth Telling circle Guidelines  

These circle guidelines were written by Harley Eagle (Dakota/Salteaux First Nations) and the  Indigenous Issues Forum, an initiative to create safe and respectful environments to talk through tough issues (Starting to Talk, 2011).  

Harley brings together 7 core principles of the circle guidelines: humility, respect, integrity, generosity,  courage, compassion, and fortitude.  

I ask that we read these guidelines collectively as a group.


For our time together we remember that we are all human beings here equal in the eyes of the Creator. No one person is valued more or less. (It is only the teaching of the cultures  and society of man that socializes us to believe that some of us, based on gender, ethnicity,  skin colour, class or belief system are better than others.) Be mindful of power dynamics and patterns that uphold unhealthy hierarchies and do your best to promote those that encourage equality. Strive to be and speak in modest and unpretentious ways with each other.  


Speak and listen with respect, and take time to consider words carefully. Give full attention to the other participants as they speak. Respect the process and facilitator, staying focused on the topic or question at hand. Respect each other‘s opinions. Resist the urge to fix each other or their comments. Consider those not in the room – ancestors, Elders, children, loved ones,  and enemies. Respect each other‘s silence if they need time to collect their thoughts when it is their turn to speak. Respect each other‘s emotions as they speak.  


We ask that we all speak from our own experiences and understanding with honour and honesty. Hold each other‘s stories and comments with integrity, in confidence, by not sharing them beyond the circle. If you feel the need to hear more about someone‘s story, first ask yourself what it is. about you that has you reacting to the story, if you need to hear more go to the person and ask for further conversation. Be ready and OK with the person not wishing to talk further.  


Be generous with your time. This is a time and space for all to share with an equal amount of time and not a time to control the conversation. Be generous with your emotions and support. Sometimes the topic is difficult and we may need to support each other.  


Allowing oneself to share in this circle setting can be scary. Some of us are fearful of public speaking. Some of us may be fearful of taking this opportunity to be equal with everyone. Whereas some may be fearful of giving up power and control, or of a new process, yet others of expressing our emotions. Most of us are nervous in some way or another. Take courage; you are not the only one. Be willing to risks. We will respect silence but also ask to take the courage to share.  


Strive to walk with others and yourself with empathy and sympathy remembering that we are all connected and in this together. Be a co-journeyer with one another and be ready to support one another. 


The topics and reason for circles often can be quite difficult. We will need to be patient and tolerant with others and keep an open mind because you may hear difficult things that evoke strong emotions. At times we may need to embrace the uncomfortable and will need the fortitude to do so. The circle process itself is difficult if it is new to you. Be patient with  yourself.”

The Circle of MA aims to bring hope and light to women who have experienced or are currently going through unpleasant journeys.

We offer a haven for an individual to unleash their strength. With our true stories and inspirational podcasts, we provide a space for you to breathe and connect. Please reach out to us if you want to share your story to empower other women who are thriving through their moment of the journey.

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