Kehteyak (meaning “the Old Ones” in Cree): The concept of an Elder in the Aboriginal community is often difficult for non-Aboriginal people to understand. The difference is in the language: in English, it is a title, a noun. In Indigenous languages, it is a verb that describes the role. Consequently, the English word “Elder” does not capture the full meaning of Kehteyak, or describe what a person does. Every Indigenous language describes the role of an old person recognized as having been earned, and some of these “old ones” are sought after for their wisdom, philosophy on life, cultural knowledge, ceremonies and gifts that have been nurtured over time.
Who is an Elder? What are the proper protocols? How do I approach an Elder to have them bring their gifts, ceremonies and traditional knowledge to campus?
If you are seeking guidance on these questions, please read the Elder Protocol and Guidelines.
If you have further questions, contact Florence Glanfield, Vice-Provost (Indigenous Programming & Research).