I was off delivering onsite training for a really important client the other day and at the end of the day the client stood me up in front of the class and presented me with a very nice gift. I was really happy of course to receive the gift, but it reminded me that I should talk about this with the group as gift giving is not always expected, and then the type of gift becomes important.
So is it appropriate for people to bring gifts to meetings and other community events? In some cases it may be appropriate and even expected; in others it can actually be offensive – even coming across as a bribe.
So, how does one know when to bring a gift and what kind of gift is appropriate? The key is simply to ask the host, politely, privately, and in advance as hardly no one gets into a community without some help. If your host, or host co-ordinator, says gifts are expected be sure to ask what type of gift is appropriate. Also, be sure to try to evaluate your gift from the perspective of the community. Ask yourself, would you be offended or upset in anyway to be offered this gift?
There you have it. A few little items on gift giving in Aboriginal communities.