This story was told to me long ago by my friend Jack Brightnose Sr., a Cree Medicine Man. I’ve adapted it to business.
If you don't know what a Medicine Shield is, allow me to explain.
In its basic form the warrior or Medicine Shield is round and made of durable materials. It is relatively small and light in weight. A diameter of 24 inches is close to the average. The manufacture consists of hide and adornments. The hide is thick and dried to a remarkable hardness; it is most often the hide of a bison. The shield is strong enough to repel missiles, stones, and clubs certainly, also arrows and even balls and bullets shot from firearms, especially if the blow is glancing. But first and above all the shield is Medicine.
The warrior shield reflects a warrior ideal, the character of the warrior culture, also known as the Horse culture or Centaur culture. Those who carried shields were hunters and fighters whose purpose it was to raid, to capture, and to demonstrate extraordinary bravery.
The shield bears a remarkable relationship to the individual to whom it belongs. Indeed the relationship is so immediate and so intimate as to be virtually impossible to define. In a real sense the American Indian warrior is his shield. It is his personal flag, the realization of his vision and his name, the object of his holiest quest, the tangible expression of his deepest being. In bearing his shield he says, "My shield stands for me, and I stand for my shield. I am, and I am my shield!"
The shield is a mask, a mask that discloses reality beyond appearance. Like other masks it bespeaks sacred mystery. The shield is what you see, believes the American Indian warrior. “It reflects your own reality, as it does mine,” he says.
It reveals to you the essence of yourself. It charms you, frightens you, disarms you, and renders you helpless. "You behold my shield and you are transfixed or transformed, perhaps inspired beyond your imagining. Nothing will ever be the same again for you have entered into the presence of my power. Oh, my enemy! Behold my shield!"
The shield is involved in story. The shield is its own story. When the shield is made visible it means: Here is the story. Enter into it and be created. The story tells of your real being.
Companies have logos and some have a flag but do corporate logos and flags speak to the aspirations of the tribe? What "tribe" you ask?
A tribe is a collection of people with common myths, stories, legends and values which define the group.
A corporate Medicine Shield should proclaim to all the higher nature of the tribe, in a way it becomes a constant reminder of who you would be.
In a busy and highly competitive world it is easy to get lost, to forget who and what you would be. A corporate Medicine Shield is the ever present reminder of who you are ... it reminds others and acts as a beacon to the members of the tribe.
If a company doesn't have a claim to fame beyond the financial bottom line is it a tribe sharing a common higher calling, or just a bunch of folks marking time while waiting for their story?
Learn more from Abe WalkingBear Sanchez here.