This page contains information regarding Star Trek: Discovery, and thus may contain spoilers.
An elder was a leader or senior figure of a community, such as a village, or an entire species or group, who were honored for their experience and wisdom, and often spoke on behalf of others in the community. The term was also applied in reference to the eldest child in the family, who in much the same was the spokesperson of the family. (TNG: "Family", "Redemption")
In 2256, the Cancri elders acted as politically neutral mediators to the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire in a secret meeting between the Vulcans and two independent Klingon Great Houses to discuss the possibility of an alliance. However, the meeting was a trap set by General Kol, and the Klingon party slaughtered the Cancri elders present. (DIS: "Lethe")