Indigenous Student Services/First Nations House offers students the opportunity to meet with Elders and Traditional Teachers for support, guidance and teachings. Opportunities to meet with one on one with Elders and Traditional Teachers is vital for some Indigenous community members. The University is committed to forming and affirming respectful relationships with Elders and Traditional Teachers and the Indigenous knowledges they carry. Individuals recognized by the Indigenous community of Toronto as Elders are respected and honoured as keepers of wisdom.
Visiting Elders and Traditional Teachers
The University of Toronto is located in the territory known as the Dish with One Spoon. Indigenous Student Services/First Nations House invites Elders and Traditional Teachers 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 page, follow us on Twitter or join our FNH Listserv to receive weekly information about upcoming events and opportunities.
All U of T students, staff and faculty
Booking & Documentation
To book an appointment with an Elder and/or Traditional Teacher in Residence, please contact Indigenous Student Services/First Nation’s House reception at 416-978-8227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are asked to acknowledge and follow the Elder Protocol when meeting with an Elder or Traditional Teacher.
The 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 honoured as keepers of wisdom.
In order to maintain a respectful relationship with Elders at Indigenous Student Services/First Nations House, the following protocols should be followed.
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 and 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.
What Students Are SayingRATE
The guidance, support, and knowledge shared with me through our Elders have been essential to my success as a student. I would highly recommend seeking support for your spiritual, mental, physical and emotional quadrants of self during your time in the community. The door is always open and you are welcomed with a warm smile.