10 Ways to Tell: ‘You Know You're a Native Elder When…’

Vincent Schilling

5. When you finally accept it and park in the elders spot

You know you have been eyeing that spot at the front of the building for a while. But when you finally decide to park there even you have decided to take your rightful spot as a respected elder. Thanks to Amy Sparck Dobmeier on Facebook for this one.

4. When someone random in your tribe walks up to you and says, you probably knew my grandparents... and you do.

Let’s face facts dear elders, we need you. Because you know everybody. You even know all of the gossip about everybody. Without fail you know our grandparents, even the embarrassing stuff. Thanks to you for that and thanks to Colleen LaBelle on Facebook for this one.

3. You interrupt a tribal council meeting and no one tells you to shut your trap!

Good one Jayson Brave Heart – and I’ve actually seen this happen. It doesn’t matter what is going on either, a tribal chief could be on the phone with another world leader and if an elder starts talking, everyone is going to allow it to happen.

2. You have put your teeth in to eat frybread

Thanks to Bill Standing Bear Lowells for this one. Of course we received many variations on frybread including having to put in your teeth to eat it, knowing all the recipes by heart and everyone comes to your house for the frybread.

And by far the most popular reason – You Get To Eat First

Considering there were almost a hundred comments regarding eating first at a powwow, being first in line and all the young ones bring you a plate of food. This seems to be the biggest indicator of being a Native Elder.

Also worth mentioning, when it’s time to say the blessing and everyone looks at you…you might be a Native Elder.


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woundedbearcharlton's picture
Submitted by woundedbearcharlton on
well i know i native and i grow even closer to 50 by the day as i was born july 19 1964 thrue i have learned i more sioux than cherokee and that i am half sioux and only 1/8 cherokee and thrue i have no kids but i plan on it i just refuse to mary outside my race cause i am native and i seek same but all and all i think i be one of them old elders with kids at powwow and i will probly still dance even at 80 if i live that long thanks sincerly from mr matoopi