The Council of Elders was a group consisting of the theocratic leaders of the Air Nomads. Each of the air temples had its own council of Head Monks or Nuns, their members being both the political and the religious authorities.
The Northern and Southern councils were composed of five head monks each, and the Eastern and Western councils were composed of five head sisters each. They were the only ones allowed to enter the air sanctuary in each air temple, other than the Avatar. They were also the ones responsible for identifying the Avatar when he or she was born into the Air Nomads.