Southeast Values

There is a list of Southeast Traditional Tribal Values that was developed, so sometimes I look at it when I’m having a difficult time making a decision. There is also a poster that was created that you can check out here . 

Some of the Southeast Traditional Tribal values my family raised me on was to respect the Elders. We did this by listening to the Elders without interrupting them if they were speaking. It was also important to serve them first during any meals that were being served. The last way I was taught to respect Elders or older adults was to make sure they have a place to sit down. Sometimes that meant getting up and giving your chair up and standing the entire time. It also meant that whenever you arrived to venue and you saw a lot of chairs taken that you knew to immediately stay standing, so you didn’t take any chairs from older adults or Elders or people with injuries.

I still do this now, whenever there is a potluck of some kind I wait till everyone has dished themselves up before going to serve myself and I look around to make sure I’m not taking a seat from anyone who needs it more than I do. The only difficult part is when an Elder or older adult doesn’t want to follow these traditions and you are waiting forever for them to dish up. At that point I ask the older adult or Elder if they want me to dish them up or if they have chosen not to eat. Or I look at someone who’s in authority to kindly ask the older adults and Elders to dish up, because it seems more natural and the person in charge usually explains that some younger folks are waiting for them before they eat. I have noticed that older adults don’t want to follow this tradition and I have to respect that and understand that some folks do not follow traditional practices. I know that a culture is constantly changing and our ancestors did what was best for everyone and would indigenize a lot of things or use technologies that were available to them to improve the lives of the future generation.