The Four Worlds International Institute


These Guiding Principles of Consultation, Steps for Taking Unified Action and a Non-Political Process for Electing Community Leadership are increasingly being utilized, in various, related forms, in Indigenous Communities across the Americas and beyond.

FWII uses this Integrative Model of Thought and Guiding Principles for our work in the Americas and  globally. There  are many other dedicated, principle-centered movements and initiatives that are currently utilizing similar principle-centered approaches for  unfolding a new, sustainable, harmonious, peaceful Global Civilization that we can all learn from!

Principles of Consultation

1. Respect each participant and appreciate each other’s diversity. This is the prime requisite for consultation.


2. Value and consider all contributions. Belittle no one. Withhold evaluation until sufficient information has been gathered.


3. Contribute and express opinions with complete freedom.


4. Carefully consider the views of others --- if a valid point of view has been offered, accept it as your own.


5. Keep to the mission at hand. Extraneous conversation may be important to team building, but it is not consultation, which is solution driven.


6. Share in the group’s unified purpose --- desire for success of the mission.


7. Expect the truth to emerge from the clash of differing opinions. Optimum solutions emerge from diversity of opinion.


8. Once stated, let go of opinions. Don’t try to ‘‘defend’’ your position, but, rather let it go. Ownership causes disharmony among the team and almost always gets in the way of finding the truth.


9. Contribute to maintaining a friendly atmosphere by speaking with courtesy, dignity, care, and moderation. This will promote unity and openness.


10. Seek consensus. But if consensus is impossible, let the majority rule. Remember, though, that decisions, once made, become the decision of every participant. After the group has decided, dissenting opinions are destructive to the success of the mission. When decisions are undertaken with total group support, wrong decisions can be more fully observed and corrected.


Define the problem clearly. Make sure everyone has the same understanding of what is being discussed. It may help to write the question or issue down where everyone can see it.

  1. Identify the human values or spiritual principles which are related to the issue. It can be helpful to think about both the principles and values which should be part of the solution and the values/principles whose violation has helped to cause the problem.
  2. Gather information which might help you make a good decision. This information may be held as common knowledge by the group members and merely needs to be made explicit. Other times research may need to be undertaken by consulting relevant literature or talking to various kinds of people (both “experts” and ``ordinary citizens``). Do not try to make a decision or to evaluate the information while you are gathering it.
  3. Make sure everyone in the group understands all the information that has been gathered.
  4. Give everyone the opportunity to express their opinion about what should be done, based on the guiding principles which have been identified. Everyone should have the opportunity to speak once before anyone speaks twice.
  5. Avoid taking offence at the point of view put forward by someone else. It is out of the clash of differing point of view that a creative solution is found. In the same spirit, avoid speaking in ways which will be offensive to others.
  6.  Don’t hold on to your point of view. Once it has been given to the circle, it doesn’t belong to you anymore. You don’t have to keep defending it.
  7. After all the participants have contributed their ideas; the facilitator (or any other group member) should try to synthesize what has been said into a course of action which everyone can agree on.
  8. Anyone who feels that an important point has not been taken into consideration in this synthesis should be given the chance to speak again.
  9. Steps 5 to 9 can be repeated several times until a consensus is reached. If, during this process, it becomes evident that a vital piece of information is lacking, be sure to get it before proceeding.
  10. Use a majority vote as a last resort if complete consensus can’t be reached.
  11. Once a decision has been reached, it is important for everyone to support it wholeheartedly, even if you are not in full agreement. Through this type of united action, any flaws in the plan will be revealed and can be remedied without hard feelings or conflict.





Step One – Prayer

Each, in their own way, asks the Creator (or however we designate a Higher Power or source of inspiration), for guidance and direction so that this Higher Power may guide everyone involved in the election process. Pray enough so everyone at the election meeting is truly connected heart and mind with their Higher Power.

Step Two – Consultation

Discuss the qualities of good leaders, and particularly those qualities needed in leadership for this time and situation. Do not discuss individual names – only the qualities a leader should have.

Step Three – Reflection, Prayer and Meditation

Reflect (think deeply) about the qualities needed in those chosen for leaders in the situation. Then think about whom best combines those qualities from among the circle and community; consider everyone. Without the least trace of prejudice and with an open and loving heart, ask the Creator to guide you to make the best choice.

Step Four – Vote

Write down the names of the people for whom you have been guided to vote. Do not discuss your choices with anyone before or after the vote. Your choice is between you and the Creator. The number of names you vote for should equal the number of positions on the council. If your ballot has less or more names it will not be counted.

Step Five – Count the Vote

A special committee of four scrutineers (vote counters) is chosen by those at the election meeting. The scrutineers count the number of votes each person receives. The people with the most votes are chosen. This is called a “plurality vote”.

For example, if the election is to choose seven council members, then the seven people with the highest number of votes are selected. The person with the most votes has the responsibility to call the first meeting of the council. Beyond that, it is not important how many votes each council member received.

If there is a tie in the voting for the last position on the council, then a vote is held to break the tie. The vote is between only the people who tied. For example, if the election is to choose seven council members and there is a tie between the sixth and seventh number of votes, then a vote is held to break the tie. If there is a tie between the second and third, or fourth and fifth number of votes, no vote is necessary since it is clear they have been selected.

Step Six – Acceptance and Support

Everyone in the community must now give their whole-hearted and unreserved support to those that are chosen. No one should speak secretly against those elected. Rather, everyone should now rally behind the council, pray for them, share their best ideas and insights with them
and cooperate to insure the success of everyone in promoting the healing and development of the people.

Step Seven – Servant Leadership

The newly chosen council members should show the utmost humility at all times and should approach their work in the attitude of loving service to the community. They should actively solicit (ask for) the views and opinions of community members, and work very hard to insure that the real leaders are the people and the council, their servants.

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Comment by Aroha Edwards on March 10, 2012 at 11:43pm water going with the natural flow.....collective in unity with love injoy peace and harmony in respect of mother father brother sister aunt uncle cousins and so on...we all one and the therefore it serves the self to be in sync for the good of all....Maka Inca....Aroha Nui Ahu 

Comment by Douglas Ou-ee-ii-jay-ii Jack on March 9, 2012 at 10:23pm

Phil, In my humblest regard please consider the following complementary ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY.  In our community LaSalle-Gardens (Kahnawake North) Mutual-Aid committee, we are in the process of establishing an on-line web-based Human Resource Catalogue for animating economic interaction in a Community Investment & Exchange System.  We believe this is the foundation upon which 'political' ('workings of the many') is truly based.


While we know that the world's indigenous peoples cultivate 'consensus' (commonalities), less is known about the practice of 'caucusing'  or cultivation of 'diversity'. The Production Societies and Guilds of the world are systems of progressive-ownership from youth to elder over the course of a lifetime.  With each person as a specialist joined in Production Societies together with others in specialties of like-interest, training and capacities, then First Nations and indigenous peoples worldwide lay a foundation for Economic Democracy upon which Political Democracy (Longhouse, Pueblo & village councils) was supported.  As 'democracy' means 'power of the people', we realize that our individual areas of expertise & social-economic concentration caucused (Iroquois = 'grouping of like-interests') together, practiced and interacting with others on a daily basis forms a deep foundation with 'voting' on a periodic basis as only part of this cycle. Community delegation of authority into its Production Societies, as complementary specialized 'experts' enables those who are more 'action' oriented to speak with their bodies in creation for community.  Those who speak with words as well have an important role for community, but let us imagine how true 'power of the people' centred in 'community' (Latin 'com' = 'together' + 'munus' = 'gift or service') has multiple ways of 'saying' this.


MULTIHOME dwellings such as Longhouse (apartment-like) & Pueblo (townhouse-like) create 'economies-of-scale' in which critical numbers (typically 50, 100, 150) people plan their collaboration, interaction & living together.  With proximity elders, youth, women & men interact with each other in complementary ways.  Most of us living isolated in detached nuclear home dwellings today have trouble imagining our interaction with others as the foundation of 'economy' (Greek 'oikos' = 'home' + 'namein' = 'manage' from 'manus' = 'hand' or 'care & nurture'.  Given that women tend to be more stable around the home, multi-homes enable women to join together in camaraderie and as well form Production Societies with their specialties such as medicine, animation of complementary gifts by all, accounting, food harvesting and many other gifts.  This 'caucusing' grouping together of specialties keeps women as a visible and empowered part of the economic cycle as well as the subsequent political decision-making process.  

Democracy at its best is integrated into everything we do.  It is a mistake to consider democracy as only a legislative process.

Comment by Robert Bruce Toovey on February 2, 2012 at 10:44am

Talk about synchronicity, Thank you so much Brother Phil.... this couldn't have come at a better time. The most important idea I take from this, is, learning to serve our fellow humans with humility. That is what true leaders do!

Comment by Linda London-Burzynski on February 2, 2012 at 9:54am

Hi Phil, I love this and you are so right! I am glad to meet someone wo thinks like I do. I love reading your posts!! Keep them coming. With Love and Peace, Linda

Comment by Gema Martinez on February 2, 2012 at 9:09am

Thank you, very usefull.

Comment by Anne V. Roth on February 2, 2012 at 8:21am

Good thinking, Phil.  And I know these principles come from your long years of experience with so very many different people.  I just need some kind of Magic Wand so that the individuals who come into our processes thinking their agenda is the right one and who do not have the spiritual maturity to work in these ways can get the Light. 

Guiding Principles

Starting From Within, Working in a Circle, in a Sacred Manner, We Heal and Develop Ourselves, Our Relationships, and the World.


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