When you are approaching an Elder or Knowledge Keeper, explain who you are and what you are asking of them. If you are asking them for guidance, knowledge, teachings and/or their time, it is respectful to provide an honorarium and/or tobacco to acknowledge their time and energy. The honorarium for an Elder or Knowledge Keeper varies, so it is important to speak to your school administrator and to ask the Elder or Knowledge Keeper what their honorarium rate is based on their experience and teachings. Aside from an honorarium, most Elders and Knowledge Keepers will expect tobacco as an offering in exchange for your request. It is important to ask how they would like the tobacco to be presented to them, as some Elders prefer a pouch of tobacco or ceremonial tobacco in a red fabric tie.
For students approaching Elders and Knowledge Keepers, Elders Eleonore Veuillot and Dave Courchene Jr. share in their interviews on how to connect in a respectful way. In the full interview with Eleonore Veuillot, she shares the importance of building trusting and respectful relationships with others and nature. In the full interview with Dave Courchene Jr., he discusses the importance of young people seeking mentorship with Elders to explore their identity in a supported environment.
Video Interview Living Library: Elders and Knowledge Keepers