As with any ceremony, one must follow protocols. We have recommended protocols that we follow when running a Language Circle. These may be followed as is, or adapted to other Indigenous language contexts.

Every Language Circle opens and closes with a prayer. The opening prayer is an opportunity to ground participants to focus on the work at hand. The closing prayer celebrates the work accomplished and asks for everyone’s safe return home.  If an Elder is present, they can be asked if they would like to lead the prayer.  If not, the facilitator can recite the prayer, or request a volunteer.

See Unit 1 - Opening & Closing Prayers for more information.

As a safe space, the Language Circle is open to all regardless of ability, gender, or sexuality.  It will be a place to share and support each other, as we explore our own unique self-expression and relationship to the Creator through our Indigenous Language.  It will allow everyone to continue learning and practicing in a low stress, fun environment.  Each individual is on their own journey, so it is up to them to choose their level of participation.  At no time, will anyone be judged on their performance. Mistakes and errors are all part of the process.  Have the group all agree, whether or not correcting pronunciation and errors is acceptable.

We are learning to speak our Language by listening, speaking, and sharing culture.  Actively listen when someone else speaks, and they will do the same for you.

Respect for ourselves and others. Respect for our Elders, Culture, and the Land.  Everyone is entitled to hold space in the Circle and is allowed to make mistakes. Remember that we are all connected and that it is no accident that we have come together to do this important work.

Be patient with your own learning and with other people’s learning.  We all have our own unique role and relationship to creation, so we do not all learn in the same way, or at the same speed.  Working on one’s own Indigenous Language may be triggering for some, so allow everyone the time and space to express their feelings and be acknowledged.  Learning an Indigenous Language is just as much about the process and relationships, as it is about progressing through the materials.

Speak in turn. If necessary, use a talking stick to encourage people to speak one at a time.  Do not be afraid to speak the Language. Actually saying words and expressions is more important than perfection. Your ancestors do not care whether you get it perfect. They are overjoyed when you speak your Language.

Please make every effort possible to be on time.  It is important that the Circle starts on time out of respect for the group’s learning environment.   Make every effort possible to be present physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. This way you are able to put your full effort into learning.  If you cannot make it or realize that you will be late please notify the facilitator or host with as much advance notice as possible.