How To Approach An Elder

Make an offering to the Elder

"It is important to acknowledge your purpose to yourself, your teachers and the spirit world."

Joe P. Cardinal, Cree

It was two o'clock after midnight and there was a knock at the door, and a young man, he had a wife and a couple of kids, so I let him in and he was so doped up. He was crying. He says, 'I have nothing to give you, but I want to come and talk to you.' So I says, 'ok, go ahead.' Oh, he told me he just about got into an accident, and he got picked up, you know, a lot of stuff. So I finally told him, I says, 'sleep on this couch. You're not in shape,' I told him, 'for me to really talk to you.' But he had a good idea to come, I think. I don't think there could be an Elder that could refuse. But he told me, 'I have nothing to come and give you. But I want help.' 

I says, 'ok.' But he didn't want to sleep, so he drove off. I saw him, about four or five days after. And I called him over and I says, 'you came to me the other night.' I says, 'I wanted to help you, so we'll have a talk. ' So we went in the sweat and I talked to him, and this other woman talked to him. But he gave me tobacco and prints [cloth] after. That's how that one went.

I cannot refuse a young man coming to me, but I tell him. Bring something next time.

 And sometime I counsel five of them at the same time. Sometimes we go to town and have coffee and talk and they talk with one another. And then sometimes we go to church. If you want to go to church, we go to church. Sometimes they want to go to sweat, we go to sweat, and talk. Sometimes they want to come to the city here, and listen to a concert or something a music festival or something, it's a lot of work. You have to give lots. And that way, they start to understand that protocol. I talk to them about it. 
But the last big thing, is to go to the parents. I tell the parents, listen to your son. Listen to him, and after you will get a chance and he will listen to you. The parents find it hard, harder than the young men. I don't know if you understand what I am trying to say. I cannot refuse. Whether the guy have nothing. Later on the next session, I tell him give something."


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