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The talking stick is a Native American peoples thing. This is the story behind the talking stick as I heard it.

When a group of the "people" gathered around a council fire the council elder would have the talking stick and start the discussion. He would then pass the talking stick to the next person at the council who would then speak or if not they would pass the talking stick to the next person at the council. The idea was that only the person holding the talking stick would be allowed to speak.

I have seen a native American speaker , a member of the Blackfoot nation, speaking at a National Park Campfire program with his ceremonial talking stick. The man was a "storyteller" for the Blackfoot nation. As the native American's did not have written language (exception is the Cherokees) the tribes had members that were/are the living history books of that tribe. Each tribe had elders that passed the stories of the "people" down to the next generation and one or two youngsters would be entrusted as the next generations "storyteller." The storytellers we met were older men that basically could tell the entire history of the tribe. As I was told by one the sad fact is the practice of passing the history verbally to the next generation is almost lost as the young people are not interested anymore.
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