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FPHL Department team holding paddles and posing for a group photo in the FPHL Gathering Space


Embodying our Truth: Indigenous Leadership in Motion Theme for 43rd Annual Elders & Traditional Peoples Gathering

Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies set to welcome hundreds of guests from across North America to campus for annual gathering November 2 to 4

Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples from across the continent will gather this weekend at Trent University as part of the 43rd annual Elders and Traditional Peoples Gathering hosted by the First Peoples House of Learning (FPHL) and the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies at Trent.

“A gathering like this celebrates the importance of Indigenous knowledge and leadership,” says Dawn Lavell Harvard, director of FPHL. “It connects students and community members and provides an opportunity to learn from elders whose traditional knowledge they might not otherwise have access to. These elders bring a wealth of Indigenous knowledge and traditional teachings from a number of nations."

This year’s theme for the gathering, Embodying Our Truth: Indigenous Leadership in Motion, was selected by Trent students interested in truth telling and the importance of seeing that truth represented within leadership in all sectors and areas. This year’s theme is about moving through the truth, seeing the truth, hearing the truth, working with the truth, living the truth, and walking the truth.

Each year, the Elders and Traditional Peoples Gathering offers an opportunity for all attendees to share in Indigenous knowledge through workshops, presentations, and performances. This year, three donor announcements at the Gathering further showcase Trent’s leadership in Indigenous education and reconciliation.

Highlights of this year’s event and photo opportunities are listed below:

Indigenous Insights: Elders Gathering Pre-Conference
Friday, November 2 - 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Gzowski College, FPHL, The Ernest Florence Benedict Gathering Space, room 101

  • Indigenous Insights – storytelling session “1818, Treaty 20: Why The Land Means So Much To Us.” Doug Williams, Dorothy Taylor, and moderated by Anne Taylor.

Gift Announcement
Friday, November 2 at 12:00 p.m.

Gzowski College, The Ernest Florence Benedict Gathering Space

  • Trent will celebrate three donor announcements that will benefit students in the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies, Nozhem First Peoples Performance Space, and First Peoples House of Learning:
    • Nozhem First Peoples Performance Space Renewal
    • The Fred Wheatley Indigenous Student Support Fund
    • The Harvey McCue Indigenous Student Support Fund

Grand Opening: Elders and Traditional Peoples Gathering
Friday, November 2 at 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Gzowski College, GCS 114

Indigenous Performance
Friday, November 2 & Saturday, November 3, 7:00 p.m.

Nozhem: First Peoples Performance Space

  • Indigenous Performance “Stories from the Ancestors,” featuring:
    • Tales of The Manoomin by the Curve Lake Youth Theatre Troupe mentored by Mindy Knott, script, direction & choreography by Rosa John, Hoop Dance choreography by Beany John, Kehewin Native Dance Theatre
    • Stepping Into Our Moccasins animated by Beany John. Through movement vignettes contemporary Indigenous dance students introduce local powwow dancers in an exciting act of dance sovereignty
    • Wolf: A Transformation interpreted by guest artist JP Longboat, originally choreographed by Daystar Rosalie Jones
    • To reserve tickets please call: 705-748-1011 ext. 7923

Indigenous Performance Workshop & Panel
Saturday, November 3, 1:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

Nozhem: First Peoples Performance Space

  • 1:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. Saving Lives Workshop: Indigenous Theatre and Dance in First Nations Communities with Rosa and Beany John, Kehewin Native Dance Theatre
  • 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. panel discussion titled Working with Youth through Dance, Music, and Theatre in Our Communities

Keynote Address: Dr. Raven Sinclair

Saturday, November 3, 10:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Gzowski College, GCS 114

Dr. Raven Sinclair is a professor of Social Work, researcher at the University of Regina, and a survivor of the Sixties Scoop/Indigenous child welfare system. Her areas of focus include Indigenous mental health and trauma recovery, Indigenous child welfare, transracial adoption and cultural identity; interpersonal and non-violent communication, lateral violence intervention, and group process and facilitation. Dr. Sinclair is a court-appointed expert advisor to the Sixties Schoop Healing Foundation, an advisory board member of the Waskebiness-Bryce Institute of Indigenous Health Research, and a member of the CIHR College of Reviewers.  

Sunrise Ceremony

Saturday, November 3 & Sunday, November 4, 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.

Traditional Area

The sunrise ceremony is one of the oldest and most esteemed traditions in Indigenous culture. Sunrise ceremonies signify the welcoming of a new day and offer the opportunity to express gratitude for life and nature.

Closing Keynote: Madonna Thunder Hawk

Sunday, November 4, 9:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

Gzowski College, GCS 114

Since the early 1960’s Thunder Hawk has been an eloquent voice for Indigenous resistance and sovereignty. Thunder Hawk has spoken throughout the United States, Central America, Europe, and the Middle East and served as a delegate to the United Nations in Geneva.  In the last three decades at home on Cheyenne River, Thunder Hawk has been implementing the ideals of self-determination into reservation life. She currently works as the tribal liaison for the Lakota People's Law Project in fighting the illegal removal of Indigenous children from tribal nations into the state foster care system.

View the full schedule.

About the Elders Gathering

The annual Elders and Traditional Peoples Gathering takes place at Trent University every year and aims to bring together a wide audience, connecting communities from all over North America. The Elders Gathering was envisioned in the 1970s as an opportunity for elders and traditional teachers from coast to coast to share their wisdom and stories with youth, students and community members. Participants share Indigenous knowledge’s through a series of experiential workshops, presentations and lectures.


Posted on October 31, 2018