Friendship Centre Elders are recognized by their home communities as a source of wisdom and strength and have an honoured place within the Friendship Centre Movement. Their guidance and wisdom is respectfully sought by the ANFCA staff, the ANFCA Board of Directors and by a large and growing number of youth representatives from across Alberta.
Each Elder brings a unique cultural perspective and understanding of teachings, history and tradition to the circle. As with Friendship Centres, our Elders embrace all Indigenous cultures and welcome the sense of inclusion and opportunities to learn and better understand other cultural perspectives. Métis, Cree, Blackfoot, Dene, and Chipewyan cultures join together in unity committed to finding cultural solutions for toady’s troubling issues.
With a strong desire to maintain cultural understanding, share insights with and to provide hope to urban Indigenous youth, our Elders meet regularly with the Alberta Aboriginal Youth Council and have participated in nine annual Youth and Elder Retreats. Their influence has shaped and directed many important initiatives including Wiya Wapaki (For Tomorrow) HIV/AIDS Awareness and Prevention, AUDI (Aboriginal Urban Diabetes Initiative) Diabetes Prevention and Awareness, Responding to Diversity – Cultural Awareness, TALK – A Elder and Youth initiative to document the stories and teachings of our Elders.
Provincial Elders’ Wisdom Circle
The ANFCA’s Provincial Elders’ Wisdom Circle exemplifies cultural diversity and honours inclusion and cooperation. Representative of twenty Alberta-based Friendship Centres, Elders of all Indigenous backgrounds come together to share fellowship, friendship, wisdom, and desire to positively impact the social issues faced by urban Indigenous people through use of traditional teachings, strong cultural perspectives and understanding.
Elders from every Friendship Centre in Alberta are welcomed at the Provincial Elders’ Wisdom Circle. Elders join together to provide cultural direction and guidance to the ANFCA staff, Board of Directors and Youth Council. In addition to the cultural guidance offered, Elders also participate in training session on issues related to health, social and justice matters and are provided an environment to share stories of success and concern from the community level.
Each Elder that joins the Provincial Elders’ Wisdom Circle comes from a community-based Friendship Centre where there is a larger network of community Elders. In their home communities, these Elders are a catalyst of movement, strength and compassion. They share their time and wisdom within their communities working with such causes as Elder care, cultural understanding, cultural teachings within schools, facilitating health awareness and prevention groups, supporting young moms, visiting hospitals, and responding to the spiritual and cultural needs of a growing number of Indigenous people seeking a better life in urban and rural areas throughout Alberta.
Youth and Elders Gathering
The Youth and Elders’ Gathering is an annual four-day event which brings together youth and Elders from Friendship Centres throughout Alberta to learn from the teachings of the Elders and learn to incorporate these teachings into their lives, gain awareness about critical community issues, share stories, and have fun. The connection formed between youth and Elders through this event enriches lives and contributes to the development of cultural pride, self-esteem, and the preservation of Indigenous cultures.
Please watch our Upcoming Events for the next Youth and Elders Gathering.