by Denise Waterman
The Elders are important people in our community. The children at the Onondaga Nation School are taught to respect, listen, care, and enjoy the elders of their families, neighborhood, and community.
This year there are 89 elders in our community who are in the thoughts of our children at the Onondaga Nation School. Each student begins preparing for Community Give in early December by writing a piece for the annual Literary Journal, which is a steadfast element of the Community Give package. Throughout January and February the classes are busy planning their grade level project for the elders. Each of the grade level projects is hand made specifically for the elders by the students. The 2010 Community Give package included vegetable soup, corn mush, corn muffins, berry muffins, spice tea, pancake mix, student designed postcards, photo-magnet, feather plaque, calendar, beadwork, pencils, writing tablets, and a Literary Journal.
This year 99 children worked amongst 14 multi-aged groups. The eldest students always guide and care for the younger children in their group. The eager groups walk or are bussed to delivery the annual packages to every elder far and wide through out the Nation, to Rt. 80, Gibson Road, South End, Main Road, Rt. 11, Webster Road, Hemlock Road, Martin’s Lane, Upper Hemlock, Maybee Road, Duggetts, and Kennedy Road.
The February visit to community homes lets our elders know tradition is important, and the students of the Onondaga Nation School will continue this way of life, because it is an integral aspect of the relationship between child and elder. Winter is also brings a time for children to extend a helping hand by washing dishes, shoveling snow, piling wood, sharing a smile, whilst surely departing each home having left a set of precious words spoken by a child or two. The spirit and energy of this traditional event is healing for both the giver and the receiver.
– it is truly a Community Give Day.