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Wellness through Stories

The 18th annual Elders & Traditional Peoples Gathering is Jan. 25-26

January 8, 2024 — 

An opportunity to hear teachings and learn from Indigenous Elders and traditional Knowledge Keepers is coming to the University of Manitoba’s Fort Garry campus. 

The 18th annual Elders and Traditional Peoples Gathering, taking place January 25 and 26, is a time to embrace traditional Indigenous teachings shared through ceremony and across generations. The event brings Elders, Grandmothers, Grandfathers and Knowledge Keepers together with each other and UM students, staff and faculty.  

This year’s theme is Restoring our Spirits: Wellness through Stories. The event will be a combination of Elder teachings and wellness stations taking place in safe spaces for learning, sharing and building connections. 

Not just for Elders – all are invited to attend

Close-up photo of Indigenous Student Centre Elder-in-Residence Norman Meade.

ISC Elder-in-Residence Norman Meade.

Norman Meade, an Elder in residence with the Indigenous Student Centre (ISC), says it’s important for Elders to come together and spend time with anyone who wants to see them, and he encourages everyone to attend.  

“It gives Elders a chance to not only share knowledge with the ones who sit down with them but the opportunity to share the knowledge they have with each other,” says Meade. “I always encourage younger people or those who aren’t sure what the title really means as Elders, Knowledge Keepers, Grandfathers and Grandmothers to come sit with us Elders in a circle and learn.” 

UM student Amari Dion-Hart recently volunteered as a helper at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation’s Knowledge Keepers Forum and believes events like these are important for young people to attend.  

Dion-Hart says sitting with Elders and Survivors and hearing their stories of resilience at the forum left her feeling inspired and full of hope for her generation. 

“I believe that it is important for young people to engage with Elders, Knowledge Keepers and Survivors because listening, connecting and learning is the path to reconciliation,” says Dion-Hart. “Youth are the next generation of leaders, and we all can create the change and be the change we want to see.” 

Topics for Elder teachings include identity and wellness, perspectives on 2SLGBTQIA+ wellness, stories on Dakota Purification Lodges, among others; and the wellness stations will welcome medicine pouch making, a beading circle and other opportunities for self-care.

For more information about Elder teachings, wellness sessions and other event details, visit the UM Indigenous Elders Gathering webpage.


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