Manataka® American Indian Council





Grandfather Speaks









Season of Gift Giving

 By Robert Gray Hawk Coke






This is the season when people start to make list for gifts to other people and family members. Personally, I have mixed emotions about all of this gift giving.  We have collectively let this Sacred Ceremony almost go completely commercial. The commercial way makes it much easier to give gifts. We can just throw money at the ideas and forget about what it all means. This is not the spirit of the giving of gifts.


Let me give you an example. I heard a conversation that went something along the line of,” I do not have time to go shopping for my wife. I will just buy her a Rolex watch, with jewels on it. She will be happy with that.”  Sounds like it’s not important to him to put any thoughts into being creative. He thinks an expensive gift will make her happy. I have heard others make similar statements, “There are no problems that can not be solved by throwing enough money at the problem.” Sometimes they are correct. But, is that what this season is all about? I think not!


A gift should be from the heart. Some thing that is well-thought-out and has both your and their personal feelings imbedded in the your choice, possibly a gift you have created with your hands or one you found that is meaningful.  A special gift will last and may even frequently refresh the memory of the giver to the receiver.  Yes, the Rolex will do some of this, but it will not have the complete depth a carefully chosen gift might have.


What do some of the great minds of the world have to say about this subject?


"Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The true gift is a portion of thyself."  –Ralph Waldo Emerson


"When thou makest presents, let them be of such things as will last long; to the end they may be in some sort immortal, and  may frequently refresh the memory of the receiver."  –Thomas Fuller


"You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give."  – Kahil Gibram


"The manner of giving shows the character of the giver more than the gift itself."  – Lavater


Remember that the receiver has a duty to receive graciously, also.






Robert Gray Hawk King Coke, 77, Cherokee, is the newest member of the Manataka Elder Council. Coke graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute in 1952 with a biology degree. He served in the U.S. Army with a tour in Europe.


After returning home, Robert Coke, entered pre-seminary school Austin College with a major in Philosophy.  He continued his education by earning a degree in Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a Bachelor of Business Administration at Southern Methodist University where he later served on the faculty as an instructor. In 1996, Elder Coke was elected Chairman, of the American Indian Heritage Association and served as an ambassador for the American Indian Center of Dallas. Gray Hawk is now a semi-retired consultant.





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