The word "Elder" has a more specific meaning in Ĩyãħé Nakoda culture. An Elder of the Ĩyãħé Nakoda is a male or female that has demonstrated, usually from an early age, a special aptitude for a certain cultural characteristic. This person is then groomed through life by a knowledgeable Elder to ultimately become an expert. In this way, continuity and accuracy have been maintained through succeeding generations.
Elders have different knowledge specialties and sometimes more than one. They all share common characteristics of wisdom, humility, and patience, plus a willingness to listen, advise, and share their knowledge when appropriate.
Some Elders have been taught ancient traditions and the way of life of the forefathers in a practical sense. They are able to associate how these traditions remain compatible in contemporary times, and provide guidance and inspiration to those seeking to affirm Ĩyãħé Nakoda identity through their heritage.
Elders learned to live their lives as an example for others. Highly respected, they are teachers of the young, counselors for adults, and advisors to the leaders.
Elders are a corner stone within our schools for learning, celebrations, and guidance.