Elders are vital to the Indigenous community. First Nations House offers students the opportunity to meet with Elders and Traditional Teachers for support, guidance and teachings.

Elder in Residence Andrew Wesley is available every Thursday at First Nations House for appointments.

Traditional Teacher in Residence Lee Maracle meets with students every Monday and on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon. 

Visiting Elders

First Nations House invites Elders from a variety of communities and experiences to provide teachings. To find out when the next teaching is being held check out our events listings on our Facebook pagefollow us on Twitter or join our FNH Listserv to receive weekly information about upcoming events and opportunities.

Elder in residence and student talking

Elder Protocol

The University of Toronto is located in the territory known as the Dish with one Spoon.

The University is committed to forming and affirming respectful relationships with Elders and the Indigenous knowledge they carry.  Individuals recognized by the Indigenous community of Toronto as Elders are respected and honored as keepers of wisdom.

In order to maintain a respectful relationship with Elders at First Nations House, the following protocols should be followed: Tobacco, sweetgrass, sage, and cedar are the four sacred plants.

A gift is offered in recognition of the wisdom the Elder will share. A gift, such as tobacco in the form of a tobacco tie (tobacco wrapper in a small, square cloth), can be given and are available at the front desk. Offering tobacco to an Elder establishes a relationship between you and the Elder. It is protocol to offer tobacco to Elders when you ask them to share their knowledge.

Start by introducing yourself: if possible and applicable state your name, your traditional territory, your clan, and present territory. Please note that it is important to be specific in making your request. If the Elder accepts the tobacco s/he is accepting the request and will do her/his best to help you. If they cannot do what you are asking they will say so and not accept the tobacco.

When offering tobacco, place it in front of the Elder and state your request. By picking up the tobacco, The Elder has accepted your request. If you hand it directly to the Elder you do not give her/him the opportunity to accept your request – it takes away their choice.

Do not touch sacred objects used by Elders (pipes, eagle feathers, medicine pouches, etc.) unless the Elder has given you permission. Photographs of these objects should not be taken unless permission has been granted by the Elder who cares for these items.