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Feeding our Spirit: Language, Culture and Land-based Reclamation

Press Release

48th Annual Elders and Traditional Peoples Gathering, February 9-11, 2024

Through keynote addresses, panel discussions, workshops, and ceremony, the 2024 Elders & Traditional Peoples Gathering will focus on renewing connections to community, to culture and to traditions for all Indigenous Peoples on Turtle Island. The Elders Gathering was first held at Trent in the 1970’s and was the biggest event of its kind. The Gathering provides an opportunity to share Indigenous knowledge through a series of workshops, presentations and gatherings. It is a time for students and the community to come together to listen, learn, and engage with the stories and knowledge that Elders and Traditional People carry.


Tickets can be purchased online

Tickets can be purchased online in advance or on-site (cash only) upon arrival at the Elders Gathering.

Adult tickets are $30; Elders, youth and students can join at no-charge (students must present your valid student ID at the door). A separate, free feast ticket is required per person to support event planning.

For activities on the Durham GTA campus in Oshawa, separate tickets are available. Please note that activities in Oshawa are only on Friday, February 9, 2024.

Note that on-campus food service locations do not accept cash.

Keynote Speakers

Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair

Niigaan Sinclair is Anishinaabe (St. Peter’s/Little Peguis) and an Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba. He is a regular commentator on Indigenous issues on CTV, CBC, and APTN, and his written work can be found in the pages of The Exile Edition of Native Canadian Fiction and Drama, newspapers like The Guardian, and online with CBC Books: Canada Writes. Niigaan is the co-editor of the award-winning Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water (Highwater Press, 2011) and Centering Anishinaabeg Studies: Understanding the World Through Stories (Michigan State University Press, 2013), and is the Editorial Director of The Debwe Series with Portage and Main Press.

Niigan obtained his BA in Education at the University of Winnipeg, before completing an MA in Native- and African-American literatures at the University of Oklahoma, and a PhD in First Nations and American Literatures from the University of British Columbia.

Tony Belcourt

Tony Belcourt is the founding president of the Native Council of Canada. In 1971, he was instrumental in creating a national voice for Canada’s Métis and non-status Indigenous people and his efforts were an important contributing factor to Métis being recognized in the 1982 Constitution Act.

Belcourt is also the founding president of the Métis Nation of Ontario and helped to achieve recognition of existing Métis constitutional rights in the 2003 Supreme Court decision R. v. Powley. Recognized internationally for representing the Métis Nation at the United Nations and the Organization of American States, Belcourt is a champion of access and appropriate use of information and communication technologies by Indigenous people. He is co-chair of the Aboriginal Education Council at the Ontario College of Art and Design University.

Albert Marshall

Albert Marshall, Elder, LLD, is from the Moose Clan of the Mi’kmaw Nation and is a passionate advocate of cross-cultural understandings of healing and of our human responsibilities to care for all creatures and our Earth Mother. He coined the phrase Two-Eyed Seeing / Etuaptmumk as a guiding principle for collaborative work and founded Knowledge Education & Culture Consultant Associates to encourage a strong future for the Mi’kmaw Nation and its peoples.

In 2009, Marshall was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Cape Breton University, as well as the Marshall Award for Aboriginal Leadership as part of the Eco-Hero Awards from the NS Environmental Network. He is seen as a “designated voice” for the Mi’kmaw Elders of Unama’ki with respect to environmental issues and serves as a member of various committees and boards, including the Steering Committee for the Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative for the Bras d’Or Lake, the Advisory Board for the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health, among many others.

Sylvia Maracle

Dr. Sylvia Maracle, O.C., is a passionate advocate for urban aboriginal peoples and women’s issues. She is at the forefront of change, fundamentally altering the landscape for urban aboriginal programs and policies through her tireless work ethic, her ability to foresee emerging issues, and her inability to accept no for an answer. She works with the National Association of Friendship Centres, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, the Assembly of First Nations, National Aboriginal Head Start and a long list of regional, local and internationally renowned organizations.

In 2017, Maracle was named a member of the Order of Canada, recognized for her leadership as Executive Director of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres. In 2018, was awarded an Honourary Doctorate from Trent University for her advocacy work on behalf of Indigenous peoples, particularly for Indigenous urban youth.

Jessica Outram

Jessica Outram, M.A., is an author, educator, and citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario. Following the traditions of storytelling, Outram looks to Indigenous stories to better understand what it means to be Métis today. She is the author of a novel for middle-grade students, Bernice and the Georgian Bay Gold, and a the poetry collection, The Thing with Feathers. Outram is a member of the League of Canadian Poets and the Playwrights Guild of Canada, and was the 4th Poet Laureate of Cobourg, Ontario from 2019-2022.

Outram obtained their M.A. in Adult Education and Community Development from the University of Toronto. She is the System Principal of Program in Indigenous Education, supporting all schools K-12 in the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board. She also works as an instructor in the Bachelor of Education Program at Trent University.

Dining on Campus

Lunch on Saturday can be purchased from on-campus food service locations in Enwayaang/Gzowski College. Alternatively, Tim Horton’s and Subway are located just south of campus on Water Street.

Trent University is a cash-free campus. Food purchases can be made with debit or credit card. Trent students and employees can use the Trent Cash on their Trent U card. Note, entrance fees must be paid in cash and some vendors may accept cash or card.


Throughout the weekend, Indigenous vendors will have booths where attendees can browse and purchase a variety of Indigenous-made crafts. While Trent is cash-free, many vendors will accept cash from customers.


Parking on campus is first-come, first-served. Please respect bus loops, fire routes and accessibility while on campus.

See a map of Trent parking. Parking is recommended in Lot R and Q by the Science Complex and Otonabee College. Signage will direct you to the Elders Gathering in Enwayaang. Search Science Complex Trent University in your map app to find the parking lots of East Bank Drive.

Accessible parking is available in front of Enwayaang. Search 1 Gzowski Way in your map app.


The Elders and Traditional Peoples Gathering is made possible due to the generosity of our sponsors and major supporters:

To support Indigenous initiatives such as the Elders and Traditional Peoples Gathering at Trent University, please consider donating:


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