Conference gives delegates chance to learn Elder teachings
- Sumaira Alwani | March 26, 2018
A two-day conference allowed participants to learn from elders’ teachings at the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv). The 2nd Annual Elders’ Conference gave people a unique opportunity to learn from Cree, Dene, Saulteaux, Nakoda, Dakota/Lakota, and Metis Elders.
The key purpose and theme of this event were to share the teachings, knowledge, and the values of Indigenous elders in public. There were 20 elders presenting at the event, including discussions on political ceremony and spirituality, men’s and women’s role, land base issues and history, environment and water, sacred teachings, traditional plants and much more. There was also be women’s talking and healing circle at the event.
Armand McArthur, a presenter at the event and an instructor of Nakoda language at the First Nations University, was delighted to present, saying that events like these help us to tell people about our traditions and cultures. He also noted that there should be more younger people involved in this event so they could get to know about the sacred teachings that only comes from our experiences.
Meanwhile, Marjorie Kaiswatum from Piapot First Nation and Charlene Cote from Cote First Nations were also excited to be a part of this event. They said that they are pleased to attend it and look forward to learning a lot from the presenters.
The key organizers of this event included FNUniv staff such as the Vice President of Academics Bob Kayseas, the Associate Vice President of Academics Bettina Schneider, followed by Senior Policy Analyst Raquel Pasap, Director of Student Success Service Grace McLeod, Sessional and Communication Key Holder Merelda Fiddler-Potter, and Administrative Assistant Sharon Moberly.
While opening the event, Schneider said, “We are here to make a statement to share the elder’s knowledge to show respect and honor. Here we focus mainly on Indigenous education and knowledge because it is the formation of who we are.”
Schneider also noted that this year the conference has seen a great turn out compared to the last conference that had only 20 elders. In a two-day event, Schneider hoped to see more than 150 elders and youth participation.
She also thanked the National Center for Collaboration in Indigenous Education (NCCIE) who have provided their support to organize this event. NCCIE is looking forward to launching a National center on March 31st that will hold a collection of knowledge, experiences, and information of Indigenous communities throughout Canada.
The film Waniska premiered on the first night of the two-day elders’ conference followed by a panel discussion.