Feeding Our Spirit: 48th Annual Elders Gathering February 9-11
Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples will come together at Trent University in Peterborough and Durham, February 9 to 11, for a weekend of learning, community and connection as part of the 48th annual Elders and Traditional Peoples Gathering, hosted by the First Peoples House of Learning (FPHL) and the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies.
“Every year, the Elders and Traditional Peoples Gathering brings together elders, knowledge holders, community members, students and allies for a weekend of learning and renewal,” says Dr. Dawn Memee Lavell-Harvard, director of FPHL. “This year’s theme centres on the importance of land-based learning and cultural connection through teaching, performance arts and traditional foods. The Elders Gathering is a celebration of First Nations, Inuit and Métis vibrancy and resiliency.”
The Elders and Traditional Peoples Gathering offers an opportunity for attendees to share in First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultural knowledge through workshops, presentations, and performances. This year’s theme is focused on culture and land-based reclamation.
This year’s Gathering features keynotes from high profile Indigenous leaders, including:
- Niigan Sinclair, assistant professor from University of Manitoba, popular media commentator on Indigenous issues, and son of Senator Murray Sinclair;
- Tony Belcourt, founding president of both the Native Council of Canada and the Métis Nation of Ontario;
- Albert Marshall, elder from the Mi’kmaw Nation who coined the phrase Two-Eyed Seeing/ Etuaptmumk as a principal for cross-cultural collaborative work;
- Dr. Sylvia Maracle O.C., former executive director of the Ontario Federation of Friendship Circles and Trent honorary degree recipient; and,
- Jessica Outram, citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario, author of the newly released middle-school novel Bernice and the George Bay Gold, grade school educator and an instructor in Trent’s School of Education.
- Trent’s Durham campus in Oshawa will host the Gathering on Friday, with an address by Dr. Sylvia Maracle, fire teachings and a drum circle, along with an Indigenous vendors market.
Performance art takes centre stage throughout the weekend with opening ceremony highlights on Friday night including:
- Drum group Medicine Sky with pow wow dancer Kelli Marshall
- Inuit throat singers Heidi Langille and Lynda Brown
- Métis fiddler Alicia Blore and Métis jigger Auriele Diotte
- Fashion show by Anishnaabe designer Ocean Kiana
- Film screening in partnership with ReFrame Film Festival.
On Saturday evening, Michi Saagiig artist Mr. Sauga will perform in the Great Hall of Champlain College.
Interactive workshops to be held throughout the weekend include Inuit throat singing, Métis fiddling and jigging, language lessons, Inuit Elder teachings with Sheepa Papatsie, and smoking fish, among many others.
A special highlight of the weekend is a sold-out feast on Saturday evening, which will feature the unveiling of the crest and colours of the University’s newest college, Gidigaa Migizi College, named in honour of beloved alum, professor and community leader, Doug Williams ’69.
All Elders Gathering activities, with the exception of the sold out feast on Saturday, are open to members of the community. Admission is $30; free for Elders, students and youth under 24. All tickets include lunch, admission to all keynotes and workshops, and access to the vendor market.
Indigenous Insights, the Elders Gathering pre-conference sponsored by the Provost’s Lecture Series for Reconciliation, will be held on Friday, February 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in collaboration with Trent University, Peterborough Public Health, Fleming College and Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre. Dr. Darrel Manitowabi, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, will deliver the keynote, Fostering Mino-Bimmaadiziwin: Indigenous Health in the 21st Century, followed by a panel of Indigenous health and cultural experts.
“Bell Let’s Talk is pleased to continue our support of the Elders and Traditional Peoples Gathering at Trent University,” said Mary Deacon, chair of Bell Let’s Talk, one of the sponsors of the Gathering. “This is an important opportunity to share cultural knowledge and support reconciliation. Our partnership with the Gathering will help to share speaker stories and Indigenous knowledge with students and members of the community.”
The Elders Gathering is sponsored by Bell Let's Talk, the Government of Ontario, and other dedicated supporters.
Visit the Elders Gathering website to register and view full schedule of speakers, workshops, and presentations.
Posted on February 6, 2024