What’s your reaction to the word? Do you love it? Does it make you shudder? Are you frightened by it or rather do you relish power, look for chances to acquire some and use it? Or maybe you’d rather talk about “influence” or “inspiration” because the word “power” seems toxic?
Have you been hurt by power? i have; my own and others. Power that exploits, power that lords it over us, power that extracts from us and drains us.
But I’ve also been lifted up and supported by power. Mentored, helped along, corrected, guided, enabled.
Kelly Foxcroft-Poirier and I have been talking about power in the context of lots of different pieces of work over the years including at the intersection of indigenous and settler systems of governance, policy and philanthropy. We’ve worked together with social service leaders, Indigenous families, Foundation leaders, churches, students of transformative systems change, folks interested in convening groups and making the world a better place. We’ve been in an active conversation about taking a view of power and it’s uses through a Nuu Chah Nulth lens.
Kelly, who is a member of the Tseshaht Nation is a deep student of her Nation’s culture and language, and in her work with Elders and communities over the past fifteen years, she has been thinking about power in a different way, by connecting it to its relational sources, grounded in family and community and lineage. When we are teaching together, Kelly uses the examples of four animals – the whale, the wolf, the eagle and the hummingbird – to explore four key aspects of cultivating and using power.
Stemming from a worldview that begins with an assumption that “everything is one” her learnings about power from a Nuu Chah Nulth lens invites us to look at how we use power to plumb honest Depth, strengthen collective Courage, create shared Vision and sustain one another to work with Joy.
With our friends Amy Lenzo and Rowen Simonsen at Beehive Productions we are ready to offer a series of four conversations about these ideas to those who work with power in group process and systems change. We know, working in participatory ways, that we can use and transform power to embed it in a relations system that shares leadership and lifts all of us, but it’s not always a simple matter to do so. So in this course we will explore relational power and its uses beginning with ideas Kelly has been putting together from her experience as a host and facilitator and leader in community and queried by my own experience working with power as a settler who is trying to lift more of these relational ways of doing things into the formal structures and systems in order to address the harms of colonization and promises of an alternative way of organizing and being actively reciprocal in the world.
If you are up for the conversation, we’d love to have you join us to explore how to transform our use of power. You might learn:
- How power shows upin group work and we might work with it differently
- How leadership is about creating shared contexts for action and actualization of both individual and collective work
- How working with power has the potential to transform relationships and create sustainability in social change and community.
And you might learn a bunch of other stuff besides! This course will place you in active learning with these ideas, and you will leave with a compendium and harvest of the teachings we all create together.
Want to join us? Learn more and register here.