Elders at First Peoples' House

The First Peoples' House would like to acknowledge our beautiful Elders and incredible traditional knowledge keepers that we are so honoured to have in our circle that support not only the staff but more importantly to our students.

Please contact us at fph@ualberta.ca and we will connect you with them.

Elsey Gauthier
Elsey is a proud native woman from Alberta. She is fluent in Cree and English. Her scope of practice combines traditional and contemporary modalities. She is a consultant and specializes in one-to-one or group work on the topics of family violence, grief, loss, and trauma. She also has knowledge of and practices the native culture. This includes teaching on Aboriginal awareness to other native people and non-native people. Her past experience includes working with urban and rural Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities in addictions and mental health, housing and supporting homeless people, school student counsellor, hospital pastoral work, and presenting traditional Aboriginal parenting course.

Francis Whiskeyjack, LLD
A member of Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Elder Francis Whiskeyjack has dedicated his life to serving others and has committed himself to the principle of lifelong learning. He is passionate about sharing traditional knowledge and teachings, providing counsel and mentorship, and promoting awareness and understanding of Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing.

As a traditional person, Elder Whiskeyjack strives to walk a balanced, holistic path and live by the teachings handed down to him from his Elders, namely the late Joe P.Cardinal. He is fluent in the Nehiyawewin (Plains Cree) language, and he promotes learning and retaining the Nehiyawewin language. He is a Residential School Survivor, an accomplished artist, a musician and a cultural teacher.

Elder Whiskeyjack's background is a journey that includes personal healing, cultural studies, health care provision and advocacy work for Indigenous peoples. He has worked for 15 years as an Elder, mentor and advocate for students and colleagues but is also involved in serving the broader Edmonton community. He regularly holds pipe ceremonies for people in the community. He leads and participates in numerous committees and is constantly invited to speak at and open community events. This includes being a member of First Peoples' House and MacEwan University. In the past, he was a participant in the development of Edmonton's Urban Aboriginal Accord and a board member for the Native Friendship Centre. He also served as a drug and alcohol counsellor in previous employment.

His extensive knowledge about the Medicine Wheel, Indigenous culture and history, and traditional holistic healing techniques have cast him as a reputable, trusted Elder by many education and health institutions including the University of Alberta, Alberta Health Services, Edmonton Public School Board, MacEwan University, NAIT and Concordia. In 2010 he was appointed as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta. In 2019, Elder Whiskeyjack received an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the U of A.