Keepers of the Circle is operated by the Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group (TNWSG), a non-profit organization incorporated in 1997 to fill a services gap for Indigenous women and their families. The organization is governed by our board of directors whose members are Indigenous women from our communities.
Our organization is guided by a Council of Wisdom Keepers that is composed of elder members of First Nations within our geographic territory.
We're a family focused and community-oriented organization that values respectful and judgement free relationships. Our organization honours the unique circumstances of each individual and the power of the collective to enact positive change.
Our core values are rooted in the interconnectedness and balance of the Medicine Wheel and the Seven Grandfather Teachings. We incorporate Anishinaabe teachings into our programming, and honour the unique circumstances of each individual and the power of the collective to enact positive change.
We take a holistic approach to enhancing and fostering the social, economic, and cultural well-being of Indigenous women and their families by incorporating traditional knowledge and on-the-land learning.
It is a reminder of the interconnectedness of creation and our roles and responsibilities to creation and to ourselves. It provides the foundation of why the organization exists, to help Indigenous families achieve this balance within their own circles and live Mino-Bimaadiziwin (the Good Life).
Our organization follows these teachings to action our vision and responsibilities. These principles can be applied broadly to many groups and we honour this Anishinaabe set of principles because they are inherently valuable and honour the Council of Three Fires and the geographical location of our centres being on traditional Ojibwe and Algonquin territory.
To cherish knowledge is to know wisdom.
To know love is to know peace.
To honour all of Creation is to have respect.
Is to face problems with integrity.
In facing a situation is to be brave.
Is to know yourself as a sacred part of Creation.
Is to know all of these things.
The Council of Wisdom Keepers was established in 2013 by the Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group. The Council, with members from every First Nation in Timiskaming District and the Temiskaming Métis Community Council, came together to guide Keepers of the Circle in its implementation of the District of Temiskaming Indigenous Cultural-Linguistic Cultural Competency Framework.
Language and cultural reclamation and the re-establishment of traditional Elder roles has transformed how Keepers of the Circle and our partner agencies make program decisions. In keeping with traditional practices the Elders Council relies on the accumulated knowledge of the group as a whole, makes joint decisions, and conveys their conclusions through their spokespersons. The Elders Council stresses the importance of engaging local Elders and cultural teachers in service delivery because they alone understand the history, customs and tribal relationships in the territory. The Elders Council will refer individuals and agencies seeking traditional knowledge, cultural practices and healing supports to the appropriate person.
For more information about the Council of Wisdom Keepers or opportunities to meet and learn from our members please contact Debbie McMullen, Wisdom Keepers Liaison by email at email@example.com