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.

TNWSG is committed to the development of First Nations and Métis youth leaders in the District of Temiskaming and ensures that programs and services for youth are designed and led by youth. TNWSG has offered an Aboriginal Youth Leadership Program, Life Skills and Job Readiness Training as funding has become available. The TNWSG has offered individualized internships to youth and succeeded in sending youth delegations on cultural exchanges to South America and the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues over the years. Several youth participants have assumed jobs within the organization while others have chosen to attend university to pursue alternative careers. Youth are our future, and we cultivate the leaders of tomorrow.

Newspaper article of Indigenous youth celebrate heritage

Elder Mario Batisse teaching a youth how to clean partridge they shot together earlier in the day