This morning I was facilitating a planning session for our organization and I tried something new. I drew from my Métis culture in managing this group. I used a story. I had put a turtle in the documents, cause I am thinking about water animals these days. The turtle just jumped out at me from the circle and arrows that were already in the document. I also like the symbolism of an animal who can manage on land and in the water for an organization facing a lot of change.
As we spoke about the turtle in developing the session, I was reminded of an Okanogan story we read about the turtle racing eagle. I decided to use this story to position the discussion.
In the story eagle is racing the animals and enslaving them when they lose. Eventually all the animals are enslaved but one night Turtle has a dream about how he can beat eagle. He asks eagle if they can race in any way he decides and eagle is so confident that he agrees without asking any questions. Turtle asks to race from the top of the sky to the bottom instead of from one side to the other. Turtle gets a ride up with eagle and it let go. But as he falls he is able to tuck in his arms and legs going very quickly while also surviving hitting the ground. By following the guidance of his dreams he is able to save all the animals.
I started with the story and how I felt this would frame the discussion. The conversations ended up being focused around relationships, which I found very interesting and timely. While it felt weird starting with a story while we all sat around the boardroom table, it was good. It was real and it supported authentic frank conversation.
As turtle has been on my mind, I have been doing lots of drawings enjoying the symetricalness and steadiness of this creature. I learned a lot telling that story. Megwich to those Elders who shared this story and allowed it to be written down.