Elders bring cultural wisdom to
British Columbia, Canada: A new program at Simon Fraser University is bringing First Nations elders to campus. The elders will to share their cultural wisdom, expertise, and life experiences with SFU and its students.
"Elders are a key cornerstone of first nations societies," said William Lindsay from the school's Office for Aboriginal Peoples. "Aboriginal people have always had the tradition of elders guiding their societies. This is sort of a continuation of that."
George (Tsleil-Waututh Nation), Jim White (Heiltsuk Nation), and
Evelyn Locker (Blackfoot Nation) have already begun one-on-one sessions with
students. to campus. They're striving to:
"Students have been coming in, asking all kinds of questions," said George. "Many come from different areas and want to learn about the community here, become involved with it."
She said Simon Frazier's program is important. It gives Aboriginal youth positive role models and encourages them to join the wider community AND remain grounded in traditional values.
International students are also seeking guidance, George said.
"There are so many cultures where close-knit communities are the norm. These [international] students are living so far away from home; they miss their families and often just need to talk to someone face to face."
About 496 self-identified aboriginal students attended SFU during the 2010-11 term.
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