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With age comes wisdom, respect

LITTLE BOSTON — The drum beats echoed through the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribal Center Friday to honor those whose influence will be echoed by generations to come.

The tribe honored its elders and inducted more members who have turned 55 years old since the last gathering. Elder honorings are usually held about twice a year.

“This is just kind of a reflection of our community and the way we try to instill in young people this is the way we love and respect our elders,” said Ron Charles, the tribe’s chairman.

Charles also carries the title of elder and as he stands over the smoking mass of shellfish at the seafood bake, he reflected on what being an elder means within the tribe.

“It’s a matter of respect. Something that we were taught by our elders,” he said.

The ceremony featured a performance by David Boxley, Dave Boxley, Jr., and Jeff Jainga. Several members of the tribe offered their prayers and songs.

Wayne DeCoteau, Janice Given, Joseph Ives, Oliver Jones, Al Justin, Loreen Mendenhall and Patricia Sparks were all given a Pendelton blanket and applause as they entered into the newest phase of their lives.

Of the 998 enrolled members of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, about 80 elders live on the reservation. Tribal officials said there are a total of about 110 elders, including those who do not live on the reservation.

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