Taking the time to perform a few simple preparations can ensure a well organized and successful tribe meeting.
The Chief should contact the host a week before the meeting to confirm the date, time, and activity assignments.
Each parent and child team will be responsible for hosting at least one monthly meeting per program year. Prior to your meeting, your responsibility will be to make invitations inviting fellow tribe members to your meeting. Invitations are delivered in person, given at the previous meeting, mailed, etc. in advance with enough time for the members to prepare. The invitation is meant to be handcrafted by the parent and child together using the Indian theme or some connection to nature. Design an invitation that both you and your child can work on together. Consider that a paper tepee that your child decorated is better than the leather one that dad or mom made alone.
When possible, use Indian sign language to convey as much of the invitation message as you can. Use the Diagram of Invitations along with the brief Indigenous Signs and Symbols diagram to spark your creativity. When extending invitations to, or from new members, be sure to include a phone number, directions, and a map to your home!
The host should remind each family to arrive promptly so the meeting will start on time. In order for the meeting to end on time, the host should remind those with an assigned activity, to choose one that will require no more than the allotted time. Activities should be assigned on a rotating basis with the goal of introducing a new game, story, and craft each meeting. The older children should assist in running these activities.
Set up extra chairs for your seating arrangement prior to the meeting. To conserve space, each child should sit on the floor in front of his or her parent. Ideal sitting is in a circle.
The host should choose a craft that can be completed in the required amount of time. Consideration should also be given to items that will need to be glued or painted so that they will dry before the meeting concludes and remain unbroken when being transported home. Always make sure you have enough crafts for each child!
The table or area to be used for the craft assembly should be prepared in advance. Protect table and carpeting from paint or glue spills with drop cloths or newspaper. Have craft items arranged and ready to go for assembly. Pre-bagging small pieces makes for quick distribution. Also make sure you have a few extra pieces on hand in case parts are missing or become broken. Printed craft directions and a pre-made sample are always helpful. To minimize waiting, make sure to have at least triplicates of any required materials needed for assembly (3-4 glue bottles, 3-4 sets of paint bottles, brushes for each child, etc.). Don’t forget about safety issues when items such as knives or hot glue guns are needed. Place them in separate areas accessible to the parents only.
The host should prepare all cooked snacks or beverages made from powder, concentrate, or coffee in advance. Cups, plates, and napkins should be set up prior to the meeting as well. Expect spills from young children and have sponges or paper towels ready! Use plastic table cloths or drop cloths to protect wood and carpeting. Plastic or paper items prevents broken glasses or dishes. The host should avoid serving more than two items for refreshments. Use finger foods, but always keep in mind any food allergies fellow tribe members may have. Eating together should always be stressed.