Elder Florance Kelly shakes hand with UCalgary student, Kiara Johnson from Maskwacis.
Elder Florance Kelly, seated, shakes hand with UCalgary student Kiara Johnson from Maskwacis. Ramsey Kunkel

Oct. 12, 2023

2023 Elders Teaching Series brings stories about Our Way of Life

Join Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers as they share their wisdom with UCalgary community

The University of Calgary’s Office of Indigenous Engagement welcomes students, faculty and staff to the 2023 Elders Teaching Series. From Oct. 19 to Dec. 7, hear Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers present their worldviews themed around Sharing Stories About Our Way of Life. The Elders Teaching Series is a part of UCalgary’s institutional commitment to its Indigenous Strategy, ii’ taa’poh’to’p.

The public learning program has provided a platform for Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers to share traditional knowledge and knowledge systems with the campus community. Supporting UCalgary’s path toward transformative reconciliation, the Elders Teaching Series encourages building good relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. The wisdom and guidance we receive from invited guest speakers in the Elders Teaching Series is integral to the university’s commitment to walk parallel paths with Indigenous communities.

Register for all three webinars and join UCalgary in transforming ways of knowing, doing, connecting and being.

Rod Scout | Thursday, Oct. 19

12 - 1:30 p.m. MT, online 
Presentation: Kiipaitapiiyssinnooni (our way of life)
Register for this event

Rod Scout is from Siksika Nation and is a ceremonialist for the sacred societies of the Siksikaitsitapi  (Blackfoot Confederacy). His first language was Siksikaitsipowahsin (Blackfoot language) and to this day he continues to be a fluent Blackfoot speaker. Scout is a retired police officer, having served 30 years in law enforcement in various capacities and is now an Elder for the Aboriginal Court.

He provides guidance to many groups such as the Elizabeth Fry Society, Calgary Arts Foundations, and Calgary Parks and Recreation. He is also a language and cultural adviser for many institutions, including Yale, Berkley, the University of Montana, Blackfeet Community College, University of Lethbridge, and SAIT Polytechnic. Scout is passionate about teaching the Blackfoot language and sharing the worldview with others. 

John Crier | Wednesday, Nov. 8

12 - 1:30 p.m. MT, online 
Presentation: Ceremony Practice Identified as Spiritual Way of Life 
Register for this event

John Crier is a Cree Elder from Samson Cree Nation of Maskwacis, Alta. in Treaty 6 Territory. He is a fluent Cree language speaker, traditional knowledge holder, traditional knowledge keeper and ceremonialist. Crier is passionate about studying, speaking and sharing the Cree language. He spends much of his time working with individuals and groups to provide access and guidance to Indigenous knowledge, language, traditions, ceremony and land. He currently sits as an Elder on the Indigenous Advisory Circle at UCalgary, supporting the ii’taa’poh’to’p strategy.

Florence Kelly | Thursday, Dec. 7 

12 - 1:30 p.m. MT, online 
Presentation: Stories of Nanabozho (trickster stories) 
Register for this event

Florence Kelly is from the Ojibwas of Onigaming reserve within the Lake of the Woods region of northwestern Ontario. She was born in 1941 at Anishinabeg Park and was raised to a traditional Ojibwa lifestyle: summers were spent picking berries, fishing, and harvesting wild rice, while winters were spent on the trapline trapping animals like mink, beaver and otter.

Her early childhood brings generally happy memories, while her later childhood memories were marred by time spent at the St. Mary’s Residential School, having been forcibly taken from her parents and siblings whom she greatly loved. Kelly is a UCalgary alum with degrees in English and education and currently sits as an Elder on the Indigenous Advisory Circle at UCalgary, supporting the ii’taa’poh’to’p strategy. Kelly loves working with students and provides cultural guidance to many departments and organizations in Calgary and Alberta.

To learn more about the event visit the Elders Teaching Series website.

The University of Calgary’s Indigenous Strategy, ii’ taa’poh’to’p, is a commitment to deep evolutionary transformation by reimagining ways of knowing, doing, connecting and being. Walking parallel paths together, “in a good way,” UCalgary is moving toward genuine reconciliation and Indigenization.

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