Since 2018, AARP Montana has offered a yearly essay contest scholarship, which celebrates tribal elders. AARP Montana has partnered with tribal colleges across the state to offer the "Honor Your Elders" scholarships. The students with the winning essay receive $1,000 to be used toward tuition and/or books for the academic year.
Tribal members have a tradition of honoring their elders, and what better way to carry on that tradition than by acknowledging the continued respect and admiration we have for those whose life experiences help mold future generations.
AARP Montana is proud to play a role in partnering with Montana’s Tribal Colleges to help tell the stories of the strong heritage of Honoring Elders among Montana’s American Indians.
Here are the 2021 winners
One of my most sacred values as a Pikuni person is to treat my elders with respect and hold them in high esteem. Without our elders, our cultural traditions would not be here today. I have learned how very true this statement is over the past few years.
Our elders have endured a lot of traumas in their lives, from smallpox to boarding schools. They
didn't exactly get the opportunities that a lot of us are given today, one thing I never want to do is
take it for granted.
Learning songs, prayers, and most importantly the language is a great way to honor our elders. They long for the young people to learn our cultural beliefs and practices.
At a very young age, I was taught the value of respecting and Honoring
our elders: as they hold the stories of our tribe and kinship, and it is up to
Us to take the time to listen to them so that we can pass them on to our children.
I know that my girls will inspire their friends and family to do right by our elders, like I and
so many others have.
I also feel like I am honoring my elders by sharing their stories, by honoring their lives. I have followed in my grandparents lives by using their equipment they have handed down to me, and by keeping their memories alive.
Traditions play a big role in my community and most of our elders know our history and the traditions we follow. When an elder is talking it is good to listen especially if they are telling traditions.
For more information abut the Honor Your Elders Scholarship contact:
30 W 14th Street
Helena, MT 59601
This story is provided by AARP Montana. Visit the AARP Montana page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
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