INTERGENERATIONAL TEACHING AND LEARNING:
BRIDGING THE WORLDS OF ACADEME AND INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE

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Lois Andrews and Elder, Mount Currie First Nation
Program Graduate Lois Andrews with Elder, Mount Currie First Nation

We can't learn everything from our books. We have to learn from our Elders, too, as to how to raise our children. Then they'll learn how to raise their children, and it goes on from there.

Lois Andrews, Program Graduate, Mount Currie First Nation

The Elders have the soul for what we do. They give us their wisdom and their hope. In turn, they feel welcomed and respected, some of them for the first time. There is just so much love that goes around in this process.

Louise Underwood, Intergenerational Facilitator, Cowichan Tribes

Elder Involvement
In First Nations communities, Elders are the main source of knowledge of traditional ways of supporting children and families. Their participation was essential to the bicultural curriculum development process. In all seven First Nations Partnership Programs, Elders contributed significant portions of the content of each course. At the same time, they modeled ways of story telling, listening, and learning that are themselves expressions of First Nations culture.

Elder and child



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First Nations child

Instructors stayed alert for opportunities to integrate teachings gleaned from the Elders throughout the training programs, and students were encouraged to reflect on the words of Elders during all discussions and activities. Many students developed personal relationships with Elders for the first time, and reported that Elders provided both emotional support and practical guidance.

Note:
Each First Nations community has its own criteria for recognizing and involving a community member as an Elder. Elders pass down cultural traditions and wisdom and may have an advisory role in community affairs. They are often, though not always, senior citizens or elderly.