Welcome to the 42nd Annual Elders & Traditional Peoples Gathering

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: Resistance, Resilience, Reclamation & Recognition

Resistance, Resilience, Reclamation & Recognition: Then, Now, Forever

This year's theme was chosen by Trent Indigenous students.  Our theme, "Resistance, Resilience, Reclamation, & Recognition, Then, Now, Forever" is a celebration of the indomitable Indigenous Spirit.  We feel that bridging our collective past, to our present to create an undeniable future is foundational.  We are gathering this year to celebrate our continued Resistance, we are still here after many years of persecution & we offer our gratitude for all the activism that continues to bring much needed change. We will celebrate our Resilience because no matter what happened it has caused us to hold onto Indigenous ways of being and knowing since the beginning of time.  We continue to celebrate and honour the Reclamation of the voices of all Indigenous peoples as they stand in their own truth which is reverberating across the country & the world.  We also celebrate the Recognition of Indigenous voices, history, dance, art, lands, culture, language, knowledge and traditions.  We honour these Truths, Then (PAST), Now (PRESENT), Forever (FUTURE). In gratitude.  

Keynote Addresses

Niigaanwewidam (Niigaan) James Sinclair

Saturday Keynote Speaker:  Anishinaabe (St. Peter's/Little Peguis) and an Associate Professor & Graduate Program Chair in the Department of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba.  He is a regular commentator on APTN, CBC, CTV and international media outlets like the Guardian and Al Jazeera America.  He is a co-editor of the following collections:  The Winter We Danced, the Past, the Future and the Idle No More Movement; Centering Anishinaabeg Studies: Understanding World Through Stories; Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water.  Niigaan is a father; inini, & member of the Midéwiwin Lodge

Diane Hill

Sunday Keynote Speaker:  A member of the Bear clan, Mohawk Nation of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee people situated along the Grand River. For 31 years, her national and international consulting work has been distinguished in the fields of social work, education, Indigenous healings & cultural studies.  She has been promoting wellness & facilitating decolonizing practices within a quantum science/energy medicine perspective that bridges the Western/allopathic view of the healing with the Indigneous/multi-dimensional approach to wholeness

Treaties Panel Bios

Elder Doug Williams

Is a member of the Pike Clan (Anishinaabe) of Curve Lake First Nation.  Doug is also a Ojibway language speaker learning from his grandparents. One of the first graduates of the Indigenous Studies department at Trent University.  He has a long work career as a band council member & Chief of Curve Lake.  Doug currently works as an Assistant Professor and the Director of Studies for the Indigenous Studies PH.D program.  Doug's Anishinaabe traditions are paramount in the way he lives.  He follows Bimaadiziwin and is guided by the principal of the Good Life in his life and work.  He is also a fisherman, hunter and gatherer.  He will have his first book released later this year. 

Anne Taylor

Anne Taylor is the Cultural Archivist for Curve Lake First Nation.  She was raised in Curve Lake, growing up in her family home with her mother, grandparents, brother, aunties and uncle.  Later she lived with her great grandmother.  She see Curve Lake as her forever home.  She learned about her traditions and culture from her grandparents and great grandmother.  She attended Fleming College, Lindsay Campus and Trent University.  Her passions include Anishinaabemowin, her culture & traditions, music, art, old movies & of course, her family.  She is a life long student of the land & her teachings.  She also spends time working with archaeologists to repatriate burial goods and to ensure any reburial of Ancestors is done in a respectful way.  She also enjoys storytelling and sharing knowledge.

Dave Mowat

A community historian, wild rice harvester and a resident member/citizen of Alderville First Nation where he was an employee & a four term elected Band Councillor from 1995-2015.  While still on the Council, in 2013 he started as Community Consultation Specialist for the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation & transitioned to Supervisor of Consultation, Lands & Membership.  Dave is also a member of the Wiliams Treaty Harvesting Committee, is a recipient of the 2012 Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal, and a long time blues harmonica player/singer which he took up not long after moving to Winnipeg in the early 1980s.  Dave's historical interest focuses on Crown-First Nation relations from the post-Royal Proclamation period (1764) to the present. 

Youth Panel Bios

Sarain Fox

Of Anishinaabe lineage, a dancer, choreographer, activist and television host.  She has trained at Quinte Ballet School, The Canadian Children's Dance Theatre & Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.  She has danced with prestigious Indigenous dance companies & artists such as Buffy Saint Marie, Digging Roots, A Tribe Called Red, Kahawaii Dance theatre (Toronto), Untld. Collective (Australia) and Ajkun ballet Theatre (NYC).  Sarain was the choreographer and lead in Theatre New Brunswick's "The Eighth Fire and recently premiered her solo work, The Red Road Block at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre. 

She has been using her dance platform to create meaningful dialogue between her indigenous community and settler communities.  her collaborative work with Xara Choral theatre (Fatty Legs) can be seen as an example of Sarain's lifelong commitment to art as a tool for reconciliation.  Sarain's screen highlights include Rise (Viceland), Cut-Off (Viceland), Daily Vice and she is set to star in APTN's upcoming Future History in the spring of 2018

Maria Montejo

 Is Deer Clan and a member of the Mam Jakaltec/Popti (Mayan) community of Indigenous people who reside in the Xajla territory of Guatemala.  In addition to her formal schooling, Maria has been mentored from a young age by various Elders, Medicine people and Traditional Teachers on Turtle Island and from Central and South America.  Maria has had the privilege of being exposed and participated in various ceremonies and traditional cultural practices that have fueled her passion to develop programming that will bridge the Newtonian/allopathic model of wellness &  Indigenous/multi-dimensional approach.  Maria has worked for many years as a mental health & addictions treatment worker and provides education sessions & consulting services for various organizations & institutions in Canada on Indigenous Peoples history, science, culture and rights.  She is currently the manager of Dodem Kanonhsa' Indigenous Cultural Facility in Toronto 

Jade Huguenin

Jade is Métis from Penetanquishene.  Seven generations ago, her ancestors migrated from the Upper Great Lakes to Penetanguishene with several other Métis families.  She spent much of her youth working at local historic sites and learning about the layered and complex manifestations of colonization that Indigenous people, including her family, experienced in the region.  She has used her education as a tool to reflect on her Métis identity & her responsibilities in community.  In 2015, she completed the M.A. in Canadian studies and Indigenous Studies at Trent University where her studies focused on cultural understandings of identity & community among the Métis ancestral families in Penetanguishene.  She now works as a Researcher at the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres in Toronto.

Individual Workshop Bios

Margaret Bruchac

An Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Associate Professor in the Penn Cultural Heritage Center & Coordinator of the Native American & Indigenous Studies Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is also a consulting scholar specializing in museum anthropology, oral traditions, material culture, ethnohistory & repatriation research.  She directs two restorative research projects--"On the Wampum Trail" and "The Speck connection"--that endeavor to reconnect objects and data in museum collections with native American & First Nations traditions & communities.

Elder Thomas Louttit

From 1953 to 1963, he attended residential schools in Ontario & 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 spanned 32 years. In 1994, he graduated from the Ontario Native Counsellors Program.  He is a traditional Sweat Lodge Keeper & the Keeper of the Traditional Pipe.  For 25 years, he has been facilitating traditional healing circles 7 provides elder services for government & community agencies.  In 2014, the Aboriginal Veterans of Canada presented him with the Queen's Jubilee Metal.  Mr. Louttit was awarded the degree of Doctor of Law, honoris causa, in 2016 by Carlton University, "in recognition of his wise leadership & gracious service to the community as an Elder & the inspiration he offers those he mentors & those privileged to witness his actions which constitute an honourable model of personal reconciliation & education.

Smokii Sumac

A proud member of the Ktunaxa nation, a PhD Candidate in Indigenous Studies at Trent University.  Smokii's research interests create & examine Indigenous stories through a Ktunaxa two-spirit lens. They have come to claim two-spirit as an identity through their participation & adoption into ceremonial families & ways of knowing.  Smokii supports the centering of queer (LGBTQAI+) & two spirit voices within Indigenous communities, & seeks to further the resurgence of two-spirit knowledges through their work.  Smokii also identifies as a poet, a cat-dad, an uncle, an auntie, a musician, and a transmasculine nonbinary person who carries many names.

Albert Marshall, Elder

A highly respected & much loved Elder of the Mi'kmaw Nation & honorary Doctor of Letters from Cape Breton University.  Albert is a passionate advocate of cross-cultural understandings & healing & of our human responsibilities to care for all creatures and our Earth Mother.  He is the "designated voice"  with respect to environmental issues for the Mi'kmaw Elders in Unama'ki through the Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources (UINR).  Albert & his wife Murdena have been instructmental in the development & stewardship of Cape Breton University's Integrative Science academic program & multifaceted research program.  It is Albert who brought forward the Mi'kmaw understanding of etuaptmumk or two-eyed seeing as a guiding principle for co-learning in the Integrative Science program.  Albert is also a passionate advocate of netukulimk, which is a Mi'kmaw understanding of sustainability.  It involves interrelatedness, co-existence, interconnectedness & community spirit. 

Andrew Bullock

A lifelong bead artist.  His passion is creating unique works drawing on traditional techniques for over 40 years. This award winning craftsman was recently featured in "Reading Native Art" at MT Kearsarge Indian Museum.  As an Trent University Alumni, he has facilitated traditional teachings & beading workshops at Trent University, University of Ontario Institute of Technology & the Canadian Canoe Museum.  Andy has taught "Beadwork Through the Ages" at Haliburton School of Art & Design.  His professional experience includes founding, and being the past owner of, The Wandering bull, Inc., a supply house featuring top quality beadwork, craft supplies and reference materials.  Bullock is a Founding Trustee & member of the Collections committee with Mt Kearsarge Indian Museum, located in Warner NH.

Elder Edna Manitowabi

Edna is Odawa/Ojibway from Wikwemikong First Nation.  Edna is a gifted traditional singer, storyteller & Indigenous performance artist. As Professor Emeritus in the Indigenous Studies Facultyy, & as part of the Trent Traditional 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 keeper of the Little Boy Water Drum.  Over 25 years that Edna has committed to Trent University, 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 & teaching to our mother.  Most recently, in 2005, Edna's longstanding commitment to building Indigenous performing arts & 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

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 Sweetgrass First Nations Language programs; for the Ministry of Culture & Heritage; and Aboriginal Healing Foundation's First Nations Language programs; and for the Lost Women/ Sisters in Spirit campaign; she was given the title of Role Model by the Governor General, Adrienne Clarkson & has recently been invited to sit as the Elder for the Aboriginal Physicians of Canada.  She has been a member of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation's Peterborough activities since its inception.  Her primary enthusiasm is for keeping the language alive & strong & to this goal many of her colleagues have come together under her leadership to form what is now known as the Nishinaabemowin Teg Incorporation providing her with the venue to continue her research outside of the University.