Welcome to the 43rd Annual Elders & Traditional Peoples Gathering

November 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 2018

Please note: Updates are ongoing...


Trent University
Hosted by:  First Peoples House of Learning & Chanie Wenjack School of Indigenous Studies







The Annual Elders & Traditional Peoples Gathering

This vision that started long ago continues.  The Gathering provides opportunities for Indigenous knowledge to be shared through a series of presentations and workshops.  This is an opportunity for students, faculty, staff & the community to listen and learn from the Elders & Traditional Knowledge Keepers...  We are so happy you are joining us.

Theme: Embodying Our Truth: Indigenous Leadership In Motion

Embodying Our Truth: Indigenous Leadership in Motion

The theme was chosen by our students who are really interested in truth telling and the importance of seeing that represented within the leadership.  

The fire at the center represents our true spirit which is necessary when stepping into leadership.  Leading by example.  

It is important to embrace our fire, feed our fire and allow it to shine so that the next seven generations can find their way.

It is about moving through the truth, seeing the truth, hearing the truth, working with the truth, living the truth, and walking the truth 

which becomes Embodying Our Truth.

Indigenous Leadership in Motion through Truth Telling...

Keynote Address - Saturday

Dr. Raven Sinclair

Nehiyaw-Cree from George Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan.  She is a Professor of Social Work and Researcher with the University of Regina, Saskatoon Campus.  Raven is a survivor of the Sixties Scoop/Indigenous child welfare system.  Her areas of interest 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.  Raven 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.  Raven is a chess addict, and she has a 13 year old daughter, Mercedes, who gives her inspiration and hope for the future.

Keynote Address - Sunday

Madonna Thunder Hawk

An Oohenumpa Lakota, is a veteran of every modern Native occupation from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee in 1973 and more recently the NODAPL protest at Standing Rock.  Born and raised across the Oceti Sakowin homelands, she first became active in the late 1960's as a member and leader in the American Indian Movement and co-founded Women of All Red Nations and the Black Hills Alliance.  In 1974, she established the We Will Remember survival group as an act of cultural reclamation for young Native people pushed out of the public schools.  An eloquent voice for Native 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 Native children from tribal nations into the state foster care system.  She established the Wasagiya Najin "Grandmothers' Group" on Cheyenne River Reservation to assist in rebuilding kinship networks and supporting the Nation in its efforts to stop the removal of children from Native families.

Workshop Bios

Elder Doug Williams, Gidigaa Migizi

A Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg and former Chief of Curve Lake First Nation.  He is currently Co-Director and Graduate Faculty for the Indigenous Studies Ph.D. Program and oversees the cultural and spiritual components of the program.  He is a member of the Pike Clan, and was one of the first graduates of what is now called Indigenous Studies at Trent University in 1972.  He is a Pipe Carrier, a Sweat Lodge Keeper, and Ceremony Leader.  He is a language speaker and considers himself a trapper, a hunter, and fisherman.  Beyond his work in the academy, he is active at the community level and works to ensure that Indigenous Knowledge is maintained within the community.  Doug is also the author of the book, Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg:  This is Our Territory.

Elder Shirley Williams

Professor Emeritus at Trent University.  (Nishnaabe-kwe) is a member of the Bird Clan of the Ojibway/Odawa First Nations of Canada.  Her Aboriginal name is "Migizi ow-kwe" meaning "that Eagle Woman".  Shirley started her professional research work in the Native Studies Department in 1986 to develop & promote Native language courses.  Shirley's lexicon dictionary for the Nishnaabemowin Language is the foundational reference materials for the double-vowed language system adopted by Nishnaabemowin language teachers throughout the Nishnaabe territories.  An Elder at Stweegrass First Nations Language programs; the Ministry of Culture & Heritage; and Aboriginal Healing Foundation's First Nations Language programs; as well as the Lost Women/Sisters in Spirit campaign.  She was given the title of Role Model by the Governor General and has been invited to sit as the Elder for the Aboriginal Physicians of Canada.  Her primary enthusiasm is for keeping the language alive and strong and to this goal many of her colleagues have come together under her leadership thus creating Nishinaabemowin Teg Incorporation.

Elder Edna Manitowabi

 Odawa/Ojibway from Wikwemikong First Nation.  Edna is a gifted traditional singer, storyteller & Indigenous peformance artist.  As Professor Emeritus in the Indigenous Studies Faculty & as part of the Trent Traditional Advisory Council, she is called upon to lecture, & participate in workshops, conferences & symposiums within the undergraduate & graduate programs.  She is also known as a drum carrier & the keepers of the Little Boy Water Drum.  Many have traveled across Canada to participate in Edna's Medicine Camps.  These Medicine Camps are another place of learning where she takes the university back to the land reconnecting learning and teaching to our Mother.  In 2005, Edna's longstanding commitment to building Indigenous performing arts and the local communities was fully realized in the creation of Nozhem First Peoples Performance Space.  As an educator, lecturer, medicine keeper & ceremonialist, Edna continues this work today, carrying & sharing Indigenous knowledge.


Andrew Bullock

A student of beadwork techniques for over half a century.  From his earliest memories as a Traditional Dancer, the beauty and artistry expressed through beads has been captivating.  In a time, before the internet, google and youtube, he researched beading techniques, authentic materials and applications in the shadow of several respected Community Elders.  His studies led him to Trent University where he graduated with a Bachelors in Indigenous Studies (then Native Studies) and Anthropology.  As a Trent University Alumni, Andy has facilitated traditional teachings and beading workshops at Trent University, University of Ontario Institute of Technology and the Canadian Canoe Museum.  Andy has taught "Beadwork Through the Ages" at Haliburton Schools of Art & Design.  His professional experience includes founding, and being the past owner of, The Wandering Bull, Inc., a supply house featuring beadwork, craft supplies and reference materials.  Bullock has recently become the Executive Director of Mt Kearsarge Indian Museum, located in Warner, NH.  The museum offers guided tours through Traditional and Contemporary Gallery Collections.  The Museum campus includes twelve acres of wooded trails and an arboretum which serves as an outdoor educational facility.  Happy Beading.

Elder Rebecca Soucie

Pure Inuk, born on the land in the qarmaq sod shelter for the winter.  She is living Inuk life knowledge, some English, seamstress, mother of three and married for over forty years.  She has traveled back and forth between South and North and experience 12 years of living on the land before her people gathering as a community and then went to English school.  The schools was about gaining skills.  Soucie is still excited to learn and grow in this new chapter in her life and is very happy to present information about her culture.

David Newhouse

Onondaga from Six Nations of the Grand River near Brantford, Ontario.  He was the first Principal of the Peter Gzowski College at Trent University and Chair of the Department of Indigenous Studies.  Also an Associate Professor in the Business Administration Program.  He is the Co-Chair of the Trent Aboriginal Education Council.  He served as founding editor of the CANDO Journal of Aboriginal economic development issues.  He is the past chair and current member of the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (CANDO) Standing Committee on Education.  He also served as a member of the Policy Team on Economic for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.  In 2001, he served as a member of the Independent Panel on Access Criteria for the Atlantic Fisheries for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.  He is a member of the National Aboriignal Benchmarking Committee of the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board.  He currently services as the science Officer for the Aboriginal Peoples Health research committee for the Canadian Institues of Health Research.

Andy Dufrane

Métis and President for the Peterborugh & Districk Wapiti Métis Council.  He has held a position on Council since it was formed in 2010.  He is from a large family of 9 children.  They were born all across Canada as his father was following work in the west and east provinces.  Andy retired from a local die casting compnay after dedicating his time there for almost 40 years in a skilled trades profession.  He now enjoys reading and has been getting back into photography.  He likes to meet new people and has many great friends who sit on our Métis Council.  He believe that the Métis people have a great story in the building of Canada, that have kept his culture alive and that is is now time to live the Métis culture and be proud of their distinct heritage.

Elder Thomas Louttit

From 1953 to 1963, Mr. Louttit attended residential schools in Ontario and Quebec.  In 1963, he was placed in the care of the Children's Aid Society.  As an adult, he moved to Toronto where he became a flat roofer, a career  that would last 32 years.  In 1994, he graduated from the three year Ontario Native Counsellors Program.  He is a traditional Sweat Lodge keeper and the Keeper of the Traditional Pipe.  for 25 years, he has been facilitating traditional healing circles and provides elders services for government and community agencies.  In 2014, the Aboriginal Veterans of Canada present him with the Queen's Jubilee Metal.  Mr. Louttit was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, in 2016 by Carlton University, "in recognition of his wise leadership and gracious service to the community as an Elder and the inspiration he offers those he mentors and those privileged to witness his actions which constitute an honourable model of personal reconciliation and education."  Mr. Louttit regularly speaks to schools and community groups about his experiences within the residential school system and his personal healing journey.  He is the father of Erica and Thomas Wilson (deceased), a grandfather of 17 and great-grandfather of two girls.  He currently lives in Ottawa with his wife Pennie.

Alan Brant

Mohawk from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.  He is a member of the Wolf Clan, Alan has 7 children, (5 girls & 2 boys) as well as 4 Grandchildren (all girls).  He is a storyteller and traditional historian of his community of Tyendinaga.  Alan has been an instructor in Indigenous Culture for many years in Tyendianga Eksaokona Daycare, Tahatikonhsotontie Headstart Program, Loyalist College as Cultural Advisor, Loyalist College Aboriginal Awareness Co-facilitator, Iroquois Indian Museum Cultural Interpreter and currently works with Corrections Canada as a Spiritual Advisor (Elder).