Opening Protocol for Zoom Circles

Download a printable pdf file of the theme from this link.



If this is a Zoom circle with participants from different communities across Canada, choose a different person to read the land acknowledgment each week so that each person has the opportunity to research their land history and present it at least once during the ten-week circle. The participants only read the land acknowledgement, while the rest of the Opening Protocol is the responsibility of the facilitator.

If this is a Zoom circle where everyone is from the same community, having a different person read the land acknowledgement each week may not be necessary. However, Indigenous people may live in a city but have their home band elsewhere and may wish to acknowledge their First Nation land.

  1.  Treaty 1 example: “I would like to acknowledge that we are in Treaty #1 Territory, the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe, Cree and Dakota as well as the Birthplace of the Métis Nation and the Heart of the Métis Homeland.” (Adjust for your region of the country).
  2.  A different theme is presented during each of the ten weeks: Today’s topic will be “[INSERT].” Following the presentation of the theme, a general discussion will follow with each of you being given an opportunity to speak to the issue. You are encouraged to keep the seven sacred teachings of the Anishinaabe in your thoughts and words.
  3. (Instruction: The Seven Sacred Teachings are then read aloud by one of the facilitators or one of the participants.)

LOVE: it is important to care for one another
HONESTY: better to fail with honesty than succeed by fraud
RESPECT: give it, earn it, receive it.
TRUTH: it is always easiest to speak the truth
HUMILITY: to be humble about your accomplishments is to be strong
COURAGE: let nothing stand in the way of doing the right thing
WISDOM: with hard work and dedication will come knowledge

(Instruction: You do not need to read the following sentences verbatim each week but do address the content informally, especially # 6-10.)

  1.  After the presentation of the theme we will share around the circle. You will be asked to share according to the number assigned to you. Each week, the next number in order will begin the sharing. Should you wish to “pass” at that time, you will be given a chance at the end to offer your thoughts. While you may not wish to speak your participation is desired as each individual has gifts to offer the circle.
  2. We cannot pass a talking stick on Zoom, so your number is important to determine the order.
    Speak on behalf of yourself only and speak what comes from your heart and from your own experience.
  3. To non-Indigenous participants, reflect on the statement of Chief Commissioner Murray Sinclair: “Do not feel ashamed of the past; do not feel guilty. They don’t do any good at all. Do something about it!”
  4. It is very important that we all recognize that the feelings of an individual are neither right nor wrong. They are real and need to be respected.
  5. In accordance with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, the four guiding principles for the new relationship are “mutual recognition, mutual respect, sharing, and mutual responsibility” (Interim Report, page 23).
  6. We ask you to be conscious of your sharing time so that everyone has a chance to participate. Because we have a number of gatherings, you will have ample opportunity to share your ideas and feelings. We will have to bring closure to our circle at (…o’clock).