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Trent Top 5: 41st Annual Elders Gathering Highlights

Relive some of the amazing moments from the 2017 Elders & Traditional Peoples Gathering

Hundreds of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples from across the continent converged at Trent University to honour the many ways in which water carries the power to heal, unite, and empower. The 41st annual Elders and Traditional Peoples Gathering, themed “Water the First Medicine: Protecting Life for Future Generations,” saw visitors to Trent sharing in Indigenous knowledge through workshops, presentations, and performances.

Here’s a look at a few of the weekend moments that made the gathering one to remember: 

1. Opening Ceremonies

Peterborough-based Aboriginal women's acapella group, Unity Singers, kicked off the weekend event by performing a traditional song to a full auditorium of guests. Following opening remarks, Professor David Newhouse, chair of the Indigenous Studies department at Trent University, also announced a new partnership agreement between Trent and Katimavik to support reconciliation and Indigenous youth programming.




2. Pura Fé Keynote

It was a keynote address unlike any other, as award-winning Native singer-songwriter, musician, composer, and activist, Pura Fé shared her people’s East River canoe songs with the overflowing lecture hall. Using song, Ms. Fé’s vocal and harmony workshop brought all in attendance together through the unique opportunity to connect with water and the role in plays in our lives.




3. Water Walkers

As movers and shakers of change in North America, the Water Walkers advocacy for the protection of water and access to improved water quality in First Nations communities has inspired many, and this panel discussion was no different. Sharing their experiences of walking the perimeters of the Great Lakes to raise awareness for their cause, this panel brought together themes of tradition, social justice, and Indigenous knowledge.




4. Chanie’s Life – His Courage, Our Challenge

Facilitated by Daystar Rosalie Jones, Hilary Wear, and Joeann Argue, this voiced movement story featured an ensemble of students in Indigenous Performance Studies and Cultural Studies, telling the story of Chanie Wenjack’s journey from his home in Okagi to the Residential School and his attempt to return home. 

5. Indigenous Insights

Trent’s unique Indigenous Environmental Studies program kicked off the weekend event with presentations from leading faculty members and students in the program for guests interested in learning more about the integration of Western Science and traditional Indigenous Knowledge. 

Posted on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.

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