When it comes to tribal etiquette it’s a good idea not to assume that what we do in our culture is appropriate in another culture. This is very true when you want to enter someone’s house in the tribe. Now you might think, “What’s the big deal with that?” Well, it’s a big deal in any culture, but let’s talk about our culture first. When you approach a house in our culture you go to the front door and ring the door bell or knock so that the people inside can hear you. If no one responds by coming to the door you leave because not to do so would communicate ill intentions. Only if you are a very close relative might you be able to enter the house with a quick knock announcing, “I’m here, it’s just me!” But in our culture, very few people have that right. Most likely a grown son or daughter in most cases.
Tribal culture is completely the opposite. When I was learning the tribal language and culture the most useless thing I learned was, “Ane wiyeme filane nai?” Or “may I come in?” This was useless because you don’t need to announce your arrival or ask to enter a house; just go in. Tribal culture is open door meaning that you don’t ask to enter someone’s home. Initially I was apprehensive to walk in without asking, but I soon learned that to do otherwise meant ill intentions – completely the opposite from my culture!! You see, someone that wants to steal always checks to see if someone is home by asking to come in. It’s okay to just walk in a tribal home because their homes just aren’t private like ours. Their homes don’t have bathrooms, bedrooms or other private things that homes do in our culture. Therefore, just walk in and don’t feel like you’re being a criminal!
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