Fireside Chats to continue in virtual format
Traditional teachings shared through Indigenous Student Centre continues this fall
Fireside Chats – talks on Indigenous knowledges – is an opportunity for all to learn from Elders and Knowledge Keepers. The long-running series, which was initially created by recently-retired student advisor and cultural coordinator Carl Stone, will be held online this year.
Student advisor Vanessa Lillie, who recently stepped into a full-time advising role with the Indigenous Student Centre (ISC) is committed to ensuring Fireside Chats continue as an integral component of ISC programming.
“I love the vision Carl Stone had for Fireside Chats,” Lillie said. “His work reminded us that these teachings are not a thing of the past, that they apply to life and living today, and I want to honour that.”
The spirit for the speaker series grew its inspiration after positive responses from the annual Elders Gathering event in which students expressed an interest in spending more time learning traditional teachings on a regular basis.
From there, Fireside Chats took shape as a monthly gathering that eventually found a home in the Circle Room of Migizii Agamik – Bald Eagle Lodge. With positive feedback and high attendance numbers, Fireside Chats grew to a weekly gathering that welcomed students, staff, faculty and community members.
For the first time since it launched, Fireside Chats will continue in an online format on a bi-weekly basis this fall. “Spending time with our traditional teachers, knowledge keepers, and Elders is one of the most important things to me and so many others,” said ISC’s director Christine Cyr. “I’m so relieved, excited, and grateful that we can continue our learning this year – it seems like we need it now more than ever.”
Fireside Chats will continue to be an organic way to learn from Elders, Lillie said. “I like to think of it as a reflection of our community in that we have intergenerational learning happening all of the time. We learn from Elders, but we are also constantly learning from young ones and all generations, and there is so much joy in that process.”