22 Elders & Knowledge Keepers

As Nisga’a scholar Amy Parent states “Elders have considerable cultural knowledge and expertise, and are highly respected because of their actions and leadership in a community. Age is not a factor in order for one to become an Elder. Elders become accepted by the community because they are deemed to have good speaking skills, are listened to, and share their knowledge with others” (Parent, 2018, p. 67-8).

Given the importance of oral communication within Indigenous Communities, you may wish to speak with an Elder or Knowledge Keeper as a source in addition to print sources. Elders and Knowledge Keepers are highly regarded sources of information within their communities.

Elders or Knowledge Keepers/Traditional Knowledge Keepers are often synonymous. Some prefer the term Traditional Knowledge Keeper as Elder can be confused with religious groups (such as Mennonite Elders) or even elderly people. While Elders and Knowledge Keepers are typically older in years, age is not the defining feature of who is an Elder or Traditional Knowledge Keeper (Wicihitowin Conference Committee, 2017).





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