Representatives from 623 indigenous groups, or an estimated crowd of up to 4,000, are expected to attend the gathering Sept. 11-14 at the Edmonton Expo Centre.

Ten Alberta indigenous groups are working together on the event, and have invited leaders from 623 First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities to participate in the gathering, which will provide an opportunity to discuss issues like reconciliation and climate change and learn about other indigenous cultures and histories.

Treaty 8 Grand Chief Rupert Meneen is one of the people behind the gathering and said it was inspired by talks with counterparts in British Columbia.

“We think it’s important that we try and preserve the knowledge of First Nations people,” Meneen said.

In addition to sharing knowledge, the elders will discuss the importance of indigenous language and culture. The event is expected to attract 3,000 to 4,000 delegates.

“We’re going to ask (the elders) ‘What are you hoping to get out of this?’ What can we as chiefs take from this, and elders, what do you need to say? Because sometimes we don’t include our elders in our conversations and I think we definitely need to listen to them,” Meneen sad.

He noted that the event is timely, landing shortly after Canada’s 150th anniversary, and is open to the public.

“We are not going to shut the door to anybody,” Meneen said.

Alberta’s Minister of Indigenous Relations, Richard Feehan, said the event was a crucial opportunity for Canadians to recognize the importance of indigenous history, culture and language in Canada.

“There’s absolutely no denying that the wisdom, life experience and knowledge the elders bring is very important for our country to create meaningful and lasting generational change,” Feehan said. “This opportunity really gives us a chance … to have the elders come together, share their ideas and pass on those ideas to the youth who will be there in attendance,” he added.

“We also hope to be involved in the process of building the dialogue, the conversation, and the work that needs to happen to make this truly a meaningful event,” Feehan said. Organizers want as many voices as possible represented

Gerald Cunningham, president of the Metis Settlements General Council, said that while there are more than 1,000 unique Aboriginal communities across Canada, they also have much in common.

“We are also the same in so many ways … One of those common themes is the respect we have for our elders and the important part they play in keeping our history, safeguarding our culture, passing on our language and mentoring our youth,” he said.

The gathering will happen at the Edmonton Expo on Sept 11-14.

Responses to "4,000 Elders: Canada to host first-ever historic gathering of Indigenous elders "

  1. Unknown says:

    To register or for more information go to

  2. Wish i could go,so sad when they have these gatherings and we don't have funds to go.D.Heather Charlette

  3. Kakilaman says:

    Wow! This is excellent As an Elder and Hereditary Chief from Statimc Tribe I willl attend and bring other Elders too and youth as zelder helpers too
    Thank Kakila Hereditary Chief Clarke Smith tenas Lake of Samahquam Statimc Tribe

  4. Anonymous says:

    As a Inupiaq elder(63) born n raised in Nome, Alaska, I would love to attend, but will see how finances go. Probably be expensive for hotel, meals, etc.

  5. CHARRUA Nation wants to be there,
    Any suggestions??

  6. roscoe says:

    About time we hear from those who have lived through some of the times we call past

  7. Anonymous says:

    True leadership is defined by an individual(s) raising the bar, for all. Animals leading by example!

    When you gaze into the soul of industrial man, those who oppose the spirits of nature you will see only a void, you will understand that they can chain you and torture you and even destroy your body but they will never imprison your spirit and as some men rise by the Exploitation of others - animalkind, some by virtue shall fall and rise again. The Old Ones never left, they just changed with us, even if you have fear, you can exploit it and stand strong, you will learn that awareness enables one's understanding of our current situation and chaos disguised as progress creates industrial humans. As you evolve you will see the cosmos and hear the whispers and shadows of this world. The integrity of self is high but the power is worth it and when you walk this Sacred Earth you will always find your path as long as you learn about self, that is where it has always been, within oneself and in the End as you walk through the ashes of industrial men you will ask yourself, does honor exist? Silence is the answer, you'll see, honor is only worth something for the ones who live and die with integrity, its about the human-animal you leave to the people you love, when you are dead - Silence is Honor and integrity is everything.

    At one with the Great Mystery - The Earth and Animals are Sacred where is the integrity in this statment

  8. Anonymous says:

    They will be gathering to address their concerns and issues with the dominant culture and and for thier meals they will be consuming domesticated animal flesh from the animal agriculture industry, right now one of the main causes of planetary degradation, will they be addressing the issue of cruelty and pollution caused by consuming animal products, I can answer that, NO!
    They will turn a blind eye, and everyone will become upset at my questioning of the Elders, or this comment will be ignored. I understand how the industrial rational civilized mind works, it justifies and rationalizes the suffering of animals on the planet, domesticated and free-living!

  9. My Spirit Name is Thunderbird Shadow Rider. I am Chickamauga.
    The gathering is good and the elders will be heard. Aho!
    If Creator wants me there - it will be.

  10. Nattybe19 says:

    To the organizers: What about arranging for billets and a means to donate to a collective fund for elders and youth from far away to be able to attend? It would be wonderful if there was some assistance to allow for the highest possible participation and representation, and not have it be based on means.

  11. Kelly says:

    is this AFN Elders? How does ONE QUALIFY as Elder to participate?? Please advise, thank you, highest honours, respects. Kelly White, Snuneymuxw Nation.

  12. Unknown says:

    This will be awesome for the people whom attend and opportunity to hear what our elders have to say and to show them what we do to keep our culture going as what our grandfathers have shown us to share and teach our children and we sing to heal as a drum group of women like it was in the beginning before European and residential schools! For as my great grandfather told me almost 50 years ago and also how our people are still not being recognized and how we still get the short end of the stick and we need our traditional foods for our tables and whiteman makes laws so we can't? What about the treaties ? You don't abey by the laws of the treaty hiy hiy just some my thoughts and knowledge

Write a comment