With the discovery of over 200 unmarked graves, in May 2021, at the former site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, members of the Elders Knowledge Circle Society (see below) felt their trauma, as survivors and family members, reawaken, and called on their western allies to help develop initiatives that support their healing and the healing of other survivors and family members, and educate Indigenous youth and settlers on our shared history.
The 2023 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation marks the first public event for the Elders Story Project (ESP). During this powerful event, Elders will share their personal stories about their residential school experiences and their healing journeys, while demonstrating the resilience and strength of Indigenous peoples and the power of their traditional practices.
Join us for a transformational evening of learning and inspiration at Arts Commons, in recognition of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Tickets are free / by donation, with all donations for the Elders Story Project going to support the work of the Elders Knowledge Circle Society.
About the Elders Knowledge Circle Society
The EKCS gained official Society status in June 2022 and has grown in membership to 33 Elders and Knowledge Keepers. The EKCS is a First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Elder-led “collective”. All Elders have experience with residential and day schools as survivors or as family members of children who attended residential schools and day schools.
The overarching goals of the EKCS are to:
Create a sustainable model to protect, revitalize and share stories, language, oral knowledge and practice;
Bridge the gap in cultural understanding and reconciliation to allow the transfer of knowledge to the next generations;
Serve as a centralized resource for Western organizations (public, private, and non-profit) to consult with Elders and Indigenous communities using appropriate protocols.
Establish a centralized place where knowledge and wisdom from Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers, will be preserved, protected, revitalized, and shared.
The Elders Knowledge Circle Society (EKCS) partners with Arts Commons, Calgary Counselling Centre, Calgary Public Library, Ernst & Young (EY), United Way of Calgary and Area, and the University of Calgary, on the Elders Story Project.
Dr. Reg and Elder Rose Crowshoe are the lead Elders of the EKCS and the ESP. Dr. Crowshoe is a well-known and respected Piikani Blackfoot Elder, spiritualist, ceremonialist, teacher, and former Chief of his Piikani Nation. He has pioneered and initiated cross-cultural programs for many organizations and institutions across Canada and has been at the forefront of establishing new and more appropriate ways of working with Indigenous people that align with the spirit and intent of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the values of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). In 2022, the Crowshoes were invited to receive the Order of Canada and received this honour in ceremony, in Ottawa, on June 21, 2023.