The talking stick has been used for centuries. Whoever holds the talking stick has within his hands the sacred power of words. Only he can speak while he holds the stick.
Some tribes used a talking feather instead, other tribes might have a peace pipe, a wampum belt, a sacred shell, or some other object by which they designate the right to speak. Whatever the object, it carries respect for free speech and assures the speaker he has the freedom and power to say what is in his heart without fear of reprisal or humiliation.