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Old 04-04-2001, 01:21 AM   #1
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Post Giving tobacco to the elders by the kids

Hi
I writing about this because I think it is very important to teach kids about respect to the elders. What you think? A good idea or bad idea.
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Old 04-04-2001, 01:43 AM   #2
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I think respect starts at home... I was raised to respect elders or else. Not only that... I was taught why.
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Old 04-04-2001, 01:46 AM   #3
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Hi Singing Otter,
A good point about respect start at home.
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Old 04-04-2001, 09:17 AM   #4
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Respect is something that is not as commonly seen these days. Nowadays, kids can just about get away w/ murder. It makes no sense what kids can get away with. And what makes it so bad is that they know they can. That is why they are dangerous. Sorry! Thats just the teacher coming out of me! :D

Althought I don't have any children of my own, I grew up to value and respect all elders. And I must say, and my behind will agree, it has been something that has kept me alive and offered much support in return.

Yes, it does start at the home and quite often, they are not given a full explanation. To do so in such a manner does more than just teach respect towards our elders. It also teaches the value of our enriched culture. So many are growing up today without ever knowing a thing about who they are!

So I would say, "Very, very, important! Very, very appropriate!"

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Old 04-04-2001, 09:48 AM   #5
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It is very important and encouraged. Offering tobacco shows the reciever that you appreciate his time and words.

But not everyone appreciates this, so it needs to still be on a one by one basis. Meaning: some people, who you might want to talk with, might not need or want the tobacco.

Here's my concern, and please do not take this the wrong way, anyone. Our elders are very protected jewels to us; we honor them the same way we honor our children. By this being on a public forum, I don't want to give anyone the impression that all you have to do is offer tobacco to any elder and they will tell you whatever you want to know. uh uh - nitch - that's not how it works. Don't cheat yourself of the opportunity of getting to know a person, by assuming that offering tobacco means they are going to think you are an enlightened being, and tell you the meaning of their world. If they still do not know you, they will treat you the same way they would any other stranger - and thank you for the free smoke. ;)

If you are genuine in your quest for knowledge, the answers will come to you. Be patient. Enjoy life.
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Old 04-04-2001, 04:07 PM   #6
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She:kon Folks:
It has already been said that respect begins at home. I think we can say it goes even further. Respect for others can only come when children and all of us are able to first show respect for ourself. The many ways we do that are taught first and foremost by example.

With teaching our children to have self respect and good self-esteem, respect for the Elders will not be too difficult at all because it basically embodies respect for all things and all people, regardless of age.

Giving tobacco in the present sense is a new phenomenon. Tobacco was given at times in the past but not like it is being taught now. Now adays there are "Elders" who won't do anything, even cross the street or pick their nose, unless tobacco is first given.LOL I am sorry but I wasn't brought up that way. There are times when tobacco is given that it is appropriate and there are times it is not.

The main thing I learned was Elders were treated like you would treat anybody else, with respect, dignity, honor, kindness, love, and compassion, etc. No difference. Again this "Elder worship" is part of a new phenomenon. The kindest thing you could probably say to an Elder was to refer to them respectfully as Grandfather or Grandmother. Just my thoughts. Onen.
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Old 04-04-2001, 09:57 PM   #7
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Ace, smart move!
Tree, point well put! I apologize for my post earlier, it shows my youth. ;) And yes, I will agree with you. It is not always needed by the elder. And I'm glad you made that point about it being a new phenomenon b/c I was under the false pretense that it was something widely done.

See there, you do learn something new everyday!

Before I follow in Aces' footsteps and remove myself, I will comment on one thing I have seen. I have seen one individual greet an elder with a basket/bag of fruit. Has anyone heard of/seen this? Do you think this would be appropriate for different situations?

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[ April 04, 2001: Message edited by: secrethillsinger ]
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Old 04-04-2001, 11:16 PM   #8
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OK. I hope no one kills me for this. I feel as though showing Elders respect doesn't always encompass giving tangible things. Teaching kids to respect themselves and portraying an upstanding character that carries on the traditions that the Elders teach. Giving things may not always be appropriate, but walking the paths that our Elders have set before us is always approriate and can never go wrong. I feel as though teaching our kids to walk that path and respecting themselves is the kind of respect that speaks volumes over tangible gifts. If you have this kind of respect, the offerings fall where they should. My 2 pennies! :D
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Old 04-05-2001, 12:00 AM   #9
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Hi
Secrethillsinger, Thats a good point you made about respect is in a short supply I fine thats is true today kids.
Smokin' Ace please explain yourself I'am .
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Old 04-05-2001, 12:12 AM   #10
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My point was everyone is diff. Different strokes for different folks. We have a responsibility on this board to not mislead the average person. Not all elders want tobacco. Not all elders need tobacco. I understand what you are trying to say WPD; I am sorry if what I said confuses you.

It's all good.
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Old 04-05-2001, 12:32 AM   #11
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Hello
Smokin' Ace, What other things I could do
to install respect to elders from the kids?
Migwetch, WPD
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Old 04-05-2001, 12:41 AM   #12
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There are 1,000 ways to instill respect in our children for our elders. Walking the walk, talking the talk. We as adults need to lead by example.

No disrespect to you, WPD, but I will gracefully bow-out of this conversation, and allow others to answer this for you.
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Old 04-05-2001, 12:58 AM   #13
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Hi
Thanks for the respones.
Tree, good point about respect starts at home. :)
Iron Feather good point in your post about character and traditions that the Elders teach to the kids. :)
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Old 04-05-2001, 12:59 AM   #14
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OK :D
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Old 04-05-2001, 01:17 AM   #15
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There are specific reasons to offer tobacco, and not just to the elders. The act of giving tobacco is not a requirement for showing respect.

My mother is a well respected elder, she would not need to receive tobacco (nor would she want it). When someone comes to visit her, she feeds them and if they have come from a long distance, she also gives them a gift, that is part of our culture.

The issue of teaching children respect, has to come from the home. But I will say this, I have yet to see an Indian child treat an elder with disrespect. I live on a reservation and worked in a school - the children were always respectful to the elders. Respect needs to go both ways in the schools.

The giving of food is also an important part of our culture. There is no procedure or symbolism for this...it is a gift and will always be accepted.
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Old 04-05-2001, 01:28 AM   #16
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Tatewiyan, Thats very true about the gifting the vistiors to your mother's house because that shows respect to the vistiors and the kids see that and they will do the same.
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Old 04-05-2001, 08:34 AM   #17
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The offering of tobacco is a symbol of giving something that is (was) valuable, has traditional significance, something that has value to you and something that is (could be) much appreciated by the Elder.

If approacing an Elder I did not know, I would be inclined to offer tobacco first (since it is the common, accepted custom) but to also have something else in my pocket in case the tobacco was declined. I would expect that most Elders who have no use for tobacco would accept the gift anyway (because of the significance of the offering) and then give it back.

If the event is a "Cerimonial occassion", it is VERY good to offer tobacco. (You would not believe how much tobacco is used up in keeping the Lodge or looking after a Pipe.)
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Old 04-05-2001, 11:13 AM   #18
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Okay - I am back in the conversation. ;)

I have a concern about this issue being misunderstood. Our people have never been "unapproachable". They have always been open, loving people. If you offer some elders tobacco, they will not have a clue what to do with it. Whereas, if you offer a handshake, smile or hug, they will hear what you are saying. If you have asked something of this person, it is only customary to thank them - some offer tobacco at this time to thank them, some offer a soda, or they will ask the elder, "may I get you something?" Sometimes, a "thank you" is all that is required.

I am not trying to poop on anyone's parade here, but I don't anyone to tell our youth, native or non-native, "all you have to do in order to learn from an elder is offer tobacco." Treat that elder as you would anyone else you respect. You will know what to do at the time of the encounter. If you approach an elder, offer tobacco, and they just smile at you, you also must accept that they don't feel like talking right at that time. Thank them for being there, and walk.

Please do not get me wrong. Tobacco is a wonderful way to communicate ~ but again, every individual is different. One persons tobacco, may be one's pepsi cola, or a seat closer to the circle, or a seat on the stage, or a program from the weekend, or a good conversation, or a handshake. Tobacco can also accompany all of those things.

Can anyone else dig what I am saying??

Feeling like I am rambling, but I am just trying to save embarrassment for all parties before it happens.

And - like someone said earlier, some elders want to do for you - my grandmother was the same way - if you came to visit, she would have a hot meal waiting for you - she was known to feed almost 50 people at a time at pow-wow (of course, most were family!!). But the whole family pitched in, and for those who didn't - they would offer Grandmother money or go buy her a bag of groceries. Tobacco would not do is this case, see? I know you are saying fam is diff, but we all need to learn from our own houses, as everyone else is saying. And Grandma's has fed several of my frens over the years - gee - thanks, Grandma!! :D

[ April 05, 2001: Message edited by: Smokin' Ace ]
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Old 04-05-2001, 11:43 AM   #19
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Great post, Smokin' Ace. You bring up many valid points. Where I come from, we sometimes make jokes about all this tobacco-giving. Nowadays, people think you give tobacco and "pay" for information. Again, it's applying the white man model to Indian ways.

Tobacco is used in pipes, which are used as a symbol of truth. Thus, offering tobacco is asking for truth and the wisdom the elders have to share. Offering tobacco should not be an everyday occurance. It should only be used when asking for significant information. Nowadays, we got everybody running around giving tobacco to ask an older person - not even an elder, necessarily - why we wear feathers. Sheesh. It cheapens the act, you know?

What we need to be teaching our kids is why they do the acts and not just how to go through the motions. It's like teaching kids how to do science but not telling them that they also need to respect mystery. Or teaching kids how to be outstanding athletes and not teaching them about sportsmanship.

Anyway, just my two cents. Hope I didn't confuse anyone with my ramblings. Have a good day.
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Old 04-05-2001, 03:26 PM   #20
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The giving of tobacco is determined by the Nation you are working with or aproaching. I know of numerous Mohawk people, who when approached with tobacco, looked embarrassed for a moment and then said, "No thanks I don't smoke."

As for tobacco used for ceremony...we don't smoke pipes in our ceremonies but we do burn the Native Tobacco, Oienkwehonwe. This is a type of tobacco that we grow ourselves. So there are customs that are specifically different for each nation. The giving or offering of tobacco is one area where this is so. I myself have many times accepted tobacco if it was offered so that I would not offend the giver but I have never made it a requirement that it has to be given before I can do any work.

Also tobacco that has been packaged by the tobacco companies has many contaminates in it. I choose not to use it. When I do Thanksgiving I use the Oienkwehonwe, Native Tobacco, because it is contaminate free. I was also taught when people call you to work, you go. The Creator will look after your needs. There is a protocol that we follow in hosting people and being hosted when we travel. Some of that has been mentioned here. Those are just my thoughts
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