Etiquette & Protocol When Addressing Tsuut'ina Elders

Culturally appropriate information for the public when addressing Elders and requesting participation for prayer or ceremonies in Indigenous Communities.

How to do a proper Tobacco Offering

Offer tobacco for any requests of ceremonial nature, prayer, attendance or asking for someone to take part in ceremonies.

How to do a proper Tobacco Offering

  1. Ask the Elder in person
  2. Tobacco is offered to an Elder or head of a ceremony before an event usually.
  3. If Tobacco is offered during a ceremonial gathering, then the sitting holy is who the tobacco is given to, otherwise instructed by organizers, to take over.
  4. When requesting specific ceremony broad cloth or offerings of your choice is often provided.

When to wear your ribbon skirt

Long ago dresses were proper to wear to ceremonies.
Dresses and skirts should still be worn to ceremonies & are still appropriate.

Ribbon skirts are newly designed and can also be worn for special occasions.

Protocol during a Feast

During a ceremony (feast), the holy person & people beside him, including drummers are fed first. Different ceremonies have their own structure of feasts.

  • While the same protocol applies including lunch and dinners in some occasions.
  • Traditionally and culturally - Elders are fed first (pipe holders) - are also referred to as Elders and are to be served as well.
  • It is appropriate to announce the Elder next to you and ensure they are fed before you eat
  • When an Elder enters the room, save a place for them to sit to eat.
  • Chief’s wife – Is addressed as the First Lady - seat her appropriately with the Chief unless otherwise advised (pipe ceremony) event.
  • Other Elders - depending on status are also important to be recognized.
Footnote: Other cultures have different protocols and are also important in their Nation or Tribe.

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