National Gathering of Elders begins in Edmonton
'They have a wealth of knowledge and so much lived experience'
The inaugural National Gathering of Elders begins in Edmonton on Monday.
As many as 4,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit elders from across the country will be in the city for the first event, the first of its kind.
The Elders Advisory Council spearheaded the organization of the event.
Lead co-ordinator Judy Kim-Meneen said it will be an opportunity for elders to provide insights into issues affecting Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples living in Canada.
"How do we reconcile going forward in future?" Kim-Meneen asked. "How do we keep our language and our culture? How do we keep our lands and our environment and our water safe through climate change? And what do we need to do about our missing and murdered Indigenous women and the girls?"
The elders range in age from 60 up to 106 and are from all regions of Canada.
Kim-Meneen said the event will allow them to share their culture, traditions and stories and for others to learn from their teachings.
"They have a wealth of knowledge and so much lived experience," Kim-Meneen said.
"We really wanted to bring them together, learn from them and have them share memories and make memories for themselves as well."
The gathering runs until Thursday.