Today, the new moon rises, a time of aupicious beginnings, especially coming so close to the winter solstice. These are important moments in Nuu-Cha-Nulth culture, and the times are important in Nuu-Chah-Nulth history. Last month, five Nuu-Chah-Nulth tribes won a landmark court case that gave them the right to sell the fish that they catch. Not on an industrial scale mind you, but on a scale big enough to create small local commercially viable fisheries for communities that desperately need both the work and the reconnection to the sea. Moreover, the courta case declared this as an Aboriginal right, a significant ruling for coastal First Nations in general but for the Nuu-Chah-Nulth in particular.
All of this leads to a time when participatory leadership is needed to seize the opportunity of building culture and community back and doing real, powerful and grounded marine use planning. So today was a good day to get to work.
We begun with 20 minutes of Warrior of the Heart practice, introducing the concept of irime, entering in, joining energies with an attacker and helping them lead a situation to peace. This check in this morning was a powerful reminder to some about the way their work as hosts needs to change, to be able to stand in the fire of aggressive energy and work with it. Fisheries and marine use planning is full of passion and the work these folks will be doing will not be easy. But the passion that drives the aggressive fight for rights and allocations can be used also to build and heal community, and if we enter into that space well, grounded and ready and knowing a little bit, we can do something with that energy.
So today we heard a little about the court case and then we spent some time learning about the seven helpers with this harvest as a result:
From this morning’s sessionshort piece on designing meetings: Four groups of questions to ask before conducting any meeting, to help you choose a good way to get what you need:
BE PRESENT* How will we bring people together in a way that invites them to be present? * How do we make people comfortable to share from their heart and listen together for wisdom and learning?
KNOW YOUR HARVEST * What do we want to take away from this meeting? In what form? (notes? graphics? photos? video? audio?) * How will we use what we gather from the meeting?
HAVE A GOOD QUESTION * What question(s) could we ask that would invite contributions from everyone?
LISTENING PIECE * What is a listening tool that helps us have enough time for people to make their contributions and hear each other? * What kinds of activities and exercises can we use for people to explore content together and provide their own thoughts on our question?
If you use this checklist as a way of organizing your thoughts before a meeting, it will help you to stay focused and to ensure that everything you do is tied to the purpose of the meeting.
Nice…a basic set of planning guidelines for any conversation that keeps us focused on the harvest, and keeps us conscious about process.
After lunch we took the advice of our Elder Levi and the participants went out on the land to think about their work going into the community. This was the time to do a little oosumich, connecting with themselves and presencing the future that starts next week when they return to their communities. When they returned, we went into a really beautiful World Cafe around two questions that Laura and Norinne cracked. The first question was an appreciative question about a time when community was truly engaged. The second question, which we did two rounds on, was on question we could ask to bring community together around marine use planning.
The harvest from this was great, a real set of tools and ideas for them to use when they go home to start the conversation.
And sweet practice this evening. Bruce Lucas put on a potlatch DVD and some of us played Scrabble while Nuu-chah-Nulth tunes echoed through our dining space. Two or three kids played while we feasted on chicken, salmon and some great vegetable dishes prepared by our local caterer. This groups is really gelling, and becoming fast friends. They are tooling up on facebook and Skype to stay together as they move into this work seperately.
Tonight I can hear some geese flying overhead, moving south on the warm winds that have come in. The rain has stopped and the surf still pounds, the ever present sound of sae and land meeting, creating one another out of their shared conversation.