The Elders Role in B.R.I.D.G.E


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What is an ELDER?

Elders differ from other elderly people in the community. It is important that an Elder have a good knowledge of the culture and traditions of his/her people. An Elder is one who is willing to share this knowledge by passing it on to the younger generations through the teaching and modeling of correct behavior...Elders must convey a spiritual continuity of the past, present and future. It is the special ability to apply this knowledge, wisdom and spirituality to the well-being of community that makes the Elder such an important and unique individual. It is the Elder's responsibility to interpret the events of today into the cultural framework of the traditions of the American Indian people. Elders are concerned with the well-being of the entire community as well as the well-being of individuals within the community.

Elder's Role
  • Elders will be sharing their culture, beliefs, customs and traditions with our Youth twice a month for an hour and a half.
  • Elders will model behavior they would like to see in our youth, including a positive self-awareness, abstinence from alcohol and substance abuse, and a rich understanding of spiritual beliefs.
  • Elders will share such customs and traditions as storytelling, basket weaving, carving, cooking, dancing, drumming, and singing.

In exchange, our Youth will provide a renewed hope in our future for the American Indian way of life. On occassion our youth will also provide guest speakers to address such issues as long-term care, housing, prevention of Elder-abuse, support for extended-family caregivers, adequate nutrition, and other American Indian social support services. Furthermore, our Youth can provide help with household duties, offer socialization and friendship and their own knowledge of contemporary issues affecting American Indians.
At each BRIDGE meeting, Elders will meet one on one with our Youth to participate in these activities. Each meeting will include a workshop activity, healthy snack, music, and end with a Talking Circle where we can share what was learned. At times, we will invite guests. At the request of the Elder, transportation will be provided.