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Elders Advisory Council

Support Provided by Elders

Indigenous Knowledge and Research Centre - Elders with Danielle Powder

CUE’s Elders Advisory Council believes that it is possible for Indigenous students to accomplish whatever they put their mind to. The balance of the mental, physical, spiritual and emotional facets of students is crucial to success. As such, the Elders Council and the IKRC work closely to ensure that Indigenous students feel connected to and culturally nourished by their university.

The Elders Advisory Council convened in 2016 through their consultation work on CUE’s Indigenous Strategy (2015) and were selected/identified by their communities for their leadership, commitment to education and ceremonial reputation.

Providing Cultural and Spiritual Direction

The Elders Council advises CUE on the cultural and spiritual direction of CUE for the benefit of all CUE students, staff, faculty and community at large. This includes:

  • Assistance with implementing goals outlined in CUE’s Indigenous Strategy
  • Creating culturally safe and supportive spaces
  • Direction for Indigenous Student Services and the IKRC
  • Creating spaces for learning and healing through ceremony, teachings, training and circles
  • Liaising with Indigenous leaders, organizations and communities on behalf of CUE
  • Advising on Indigenous-related matters
  • Consultation on current and future initiatives at CUE.

Meet our Elders Advisory Council Members

Francis Whiskeyjack

Indigenous Knowledge & Research Centre - Elder Francis Whiskeyjack

Dr. Francis Whiskeyjack is a member of Saddle Lake Cree Nation and has dedicated his life to serving others while also committing himself to the principle of lifelong learning. He is passionate about sharing traditional knowledge and teachings. He provides council and mentorship while also promoting awareness and understanding of Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing.

Francis has worked for over 15 years as an Elder and cultural advisor at various community organizations and educational institutions. He currently holds the position as Elder for the University of Alberta, Macewan University and Concordia University of Edmonton where he supports students and staff in a variety of capacities. He is fluent in nehiyawewin (Plains Cree Language) and promotes the learning and retention of the language.

In 2010, Francis was appointed as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta. In 2019, Francis received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta.

Theresa Cardinal

Indigenous Knowledge and Research Centre - Elder Theresa Cardinal

Theresa Cardinal is a nehiyaw Elder and Knowledge Keeper from the Saddle Lake Cree Nation. Theresa is a proud mother and kohkom. Theresa was raised in a strong spiritual and ceremonial environment and advocates for healing through ceremony for Indigenous students, families and communities.

Theresa completed her Masters in Psychology and currently works as a Mental Health Therapist at CASA. After fulfilling her final requirements, Theresa will be a Registered Psychologist. Through her work, Theresa advocates for the Indigenous students and parents to understand the school system as it is today but more importantly to understand their rights within this school system as it pertains to the Western system of assessments.  She also works with a variety of organizations to promote Indigenization of psychological practices, mental health care and support services to include/value Indigenous histories, stories and practices for all classrooms.

Wil Campbell

Indigenous Knowledge and Research Centre - Elder Wil Campbell

With over 40 years of experience and numerous awards to his name Wil Campbell has been involved in management, development, and cultural leadership with Indigenous people nationally and internationally. He sits on a number of international Indigenous councils, has extensive experience promoting Indigenous culture and language in the film, television and radio industries, and works directly with families to maintain their connection to culture and community and follow their own healing journey. His influence and his work, reverberates nationally, internationally and directly with families and communities.

Wil was born in Northern Saskatchewan and grew up in a traditional trapping family. He personally experienced the impact of colonialism and displacement that many Indigenous people face. He was placed into foster care in 1953 and spent most of his early life in the foster care system.

Wil is an Elder with Native Counselling Services of Alberta.

Pauline Paulson

Indigenous Knowledge & Research Centre - Elder Pauline Paulson

Pauline is a Métis woman of Swampy Cree, English, Scottish and Icelandic descent. Born and raised in Manitoba, she moved to Edmonton in 2006. She is the proud mother of a son and daughter and has three grandchildren.

Pauline has spent over thirty years learning Aboriginal cultural ways through numerous Elders in Manitoba and Alberta. Pauline is a Sun Dancer and Pipe Carrier. Pauline has many years of experience as a facilitator of programs such as grief and losses, cultural awareness and family violence. She currently serves as cultural and spiritual advisor at Native Counselling Services of Alberta and Concordia University of Edmonton. She is also the Board President of Edmonton’s Interfaith Centre for Education and Action.

Elder Pauline passed away in the winter of 2021. She will continue to be an honorary member of the EAC and guide us from the spirit world.