By Mark Yettica-Paulson.
The Four Stories of Identity activity is something I created 20 years ago and practise regularly with my clients as a leadership and intercultural dialogue facilitator. It’s a simple practice to help people settle into the group and find their place.
We've also created a link to some short videos on our youtube channel as an example to help generate a starting point for you and your families/communities to practice. Don't forget our Four Stories of Identity PDF below to print and share as a guide for anyone to practice.
Five Things You Can Practice:
1. The story of your name - the story of your name is a way to practice identity and belonging. Some of us will have stories of names that have been passed through generations. Others will have stories of naming ceremonies. Some of us will have stories about how we’re not sure about how we got our names and where it comes from. Watch Mark's NAME story video here.
2. The story of your birth place - the story of your birthplace is a way to connect you with your deep memory. For some of us the story of our birthplace is very significant. For others of us it is a matter-of-fact piece of data. For many First Nations your birthplace holds special meaning about your connection to that particular place. Watch Mark's BIRTH PLACE story video here.
3. The story of your mob - who are the people that you are connected with and will also claim you as one of their own? Practicing these stories help us to cultivate belonging to a group. It might be your relatives by blood, a close group of friends or a cohort that have been through something significant and bonding together. Importantly, you claim to belong to them and they claim that you are a part of them. Watch Mark's MOB story video here.
4. The story of your special place - do you have stories of feeling connected to a special place? Sharing these stories helps us to generate connection to place. It might be somewhere that is significant to your upbringing. It could be a place where something really important happened in your life. It might be a place that you travel to physically or through your imagination to help you feel grounded or centred. It might not be physical and just wherever your loved ones are. Watch Mark's SPECIAL PLACE story video here.
5. MARK’S TIP: Practise sharing your four stories with your close friends and family. Get to know your own 'Four Stories of Identity' and listen to other’s stories. We each carry memories of joy, legacy, loss, embarrassment and perhaps trauma. In this space there should be no shame, guilt or negative judgement to share your story. Your story is yours. If we make this practice feel normal and safe, then we can cultivate belonging and value the humanity of others. Watch Mark's short overview video here.
We'd love to hear your stories, so please comment and share.
For a PDF version of this guide, see the link below.
Chief, Super Native Unlimited.