Elders and traditional Knowledge Keepers

The 2017 Canada Summer Games hosts, staff and volunteers thank and respectfully acknowledge the Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers and Healers that have provided us with guidance and vision that ensure these games respect all cultural and territorial protocols.

We would also like to thank Turtle Lodge, International Centre for Indigenous Education and Wellness for coordinating and leading the work of the Elders and ensuring that all linguistic groups contributed to a shared vision and the inclusion of traditional ancestral knowledge of the First Peoples for the 2017 Canada Summer Games.  Click here to learn more about Turtle Lodge.                                                                                                                                                

  Turtle Lodge

Elder Biographies


Dave Courchene (Nii Gaani Aki Inini - Leading Earth Man)

Knowledge Keeper of the Anishinabe Nation, Eagle Clan

Dave Courchene

Dave Courchene - Nii Gaani Aki Inini (Leading Earth Man) has travelled internationally, carrying a message of hope and peace.  Dave shares the ancient knowledge of the Original People of Turtle Island,  that he believes can act as the foundation in supporting the New Life that Mother Earth is now entering, and that the Elders have confirmed has arrived.

He has created a special place for sharing the ancient knowledge of the Original Peoples - the Turtle Lodge - built based on a vision he received many years ago. The Original People have always relied on visions and dreams to give guidance and direction in life.

Dave was honoured by leaders and Elders of the Original Peoples at the 2010 International Indigenous Leadership Gathering, and with a National Aboriginal Achievement (INDSPIRE) Award in Culture, Heritage & Spirituality, and the Volunteer Manitoba Award for Outstanding Community Leadership in 2012, for the work associated with his message and vision, including the work he has done inspiring young people.

His recent work has involved initiating International Roundtables Supporting Ancient Indigenous Knowledge at the Turtle Lodge and the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC, which have been co-led by US Congressman Dennis Kucinich. He delivered the Opening Keynote and conducted the Opening Ceremonies at the 2010 G8 Summit on World Religions.  Dave is the Lead Elder of the Elders Circle Seven, who co-created Mikinak-Keya - The Spirit Tour, the signature tour of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Dave has shared the stage twice with the Dalai Lama to bring a message of peace in Newark, New Jersey and Monterrey, Mexico.  In the Spring of 2011, Dave initiated the Makoose Ka Win and the Vision Quest rites of passage to take young people of all cultures entering Adulthood back to the land and the Elders to find their uniqueness and promote peace.

Dr. Harry Bone (Giizih-Inini)

Knowledge Keeper of the Anishinabe Nation

Elder Harry Bone has worked tirelessly and quietly throughout his life to bolster Indigenous rights.

He is a member of Keeseekoowenin Ojibway Nation, where he served as a Chief and Director of Education. He also worked as a CEO at the West Region Tribal Council and as a Director of the Manitoba Indian Education Authority. While a graduate student in political studies at University of Manitoba he was a Student Advisor and Lecturer. Elder Bone was also a Director of Native Programs for the Federal Government and he served as a Vice-President of Aboriginal Cultural Centres of Canada. Elder Bone is currently a member of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Elders Council where he continues to be the Chairperson of his colleagues.

Elder Bone’s expertise in First Nations governance at the community level is well regarded. He has led delegations that have met with all levels of government and has been instrumental in furthering many projects for the benefit of all Manitobans, such as the Oral History Project and the Historical Atlas of First Nations in Manitoba. Elder Bone and Elder Doris Pratt co-authored Untuwe Pi Kin He – Who We are: Treaty Elders’ Teachings Volume, a book that documents the traditional laws and customs of Indigenous peoples in Manitoba in a way that is accessible to all interested readers; it is not a revision of history but rather a retelling of history from Indigenous historians, giving them an opportunity to reclaim words and inject new power into them. Like Elder Bone, the book aims to inspire people through compassion, reason, humility and human dignity.

His distinguished achievements in leadership, scholarship and public service have been widely recognized by the many individuals and communities who have touched by his work. The University of Manitoba honoured Elder Bone with an Honorary Doctor of Law degree for his tireless and trendsetting work that continues to advance Aboriginal education in Canada.

Katherine Whitecloud

Knowledge Keeper of the Dakota Nation

Katherine Whitecloud

Katherine Whitecloud, Mother and Grandmother, is a proud citizen of the Wipazoka Wakpa Dakota Nation. Chosen at the age of 16 to represent her people, Katherine has been a spokesperson for her Nation for over 30 years. Her roles have included Chief, Director of Education, CEO for the Assembly of First Nations, Director of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, and Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. Her work lies in ensuring the life and teachings articulated and envisioned by her forefathers is honored and protected.

Fred Kelly   (KIZHEBOWSE MAAKWA)     Kind Walking Bear
Lynx Clan                

Midewin Law & Medicine Society

Kizhebowse Maakwa (Kizhay-bow-say Mukwa) – Kind Walking Bear - is a member of Midewin, the Sacred Law and Medicine Society of the Anishinaabe. He is Practitioner and Teacher of Traditional Law and Governance. He has been called upon to administer healing therapies and ceremonies to many indigenous peoples on Turtle Island. He has also delivered numerous lectures to various mainstream audiences in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Japan, Argentina, Israel and Hawaii, among other places.

Fred Kelly is a citizen of the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3 and a member of the Ojibways of Onigaming. He is a former Chief of his community and Grand Chief of the Anishinaabe Nation and carries over fifty years of expertise and a unique combination of political, government and business experience. At 23 years of age, he led the First Protest March by First Nations in this country at Kenora in 1965 which has been called the birth of the civil rights movement in this Canada. He was also one of the leaders who fought to defeat the 1969 White Paper that had laid out a new version of Canada’s Termination Policy of ‘Indians’.

He chaired many of the technical meetings of the National Indian Brotherhood – now the Assembly of First Nations - that led to the recognition and affirmation of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in the Canadian Constitution in 1982. He has served as an Elder Advisor to many National Chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations, Chiefs of Ontario, Grand Council Treaty #3 and several Tribes in the United States.

Kizhebowse is a survivor of residential schools at St. Mary’s in Kenora, Ontario and St. Paul’s in Saskatchewan. He served as the Spiritual Elder Advisor on the Team that negotiated the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement in 2007, the largest settlement of a class action in Canadian history and which also created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He founded and still heads Nimishomis-Nokomis Healing Group, a consortium of traditional elders and healers that administer group and individual therapy to residential school survivors including their families and communities.

Elder Norman Meade

Norman was born in Bissett, Manitoba, but grew up in the Metis settlement of Manigotagan. He went to the public school in Manigotagan, the Ojibway word for Bad Throat School. He finished Grade 9 in Manigotagan and then went to the San Antonio High School in Bissett.

In the early 1960's, Norman was hired at the gold mine in Bissett where he worked as a labourer and eventually became a full-fledged miner. During this time, Norman met Thelma Barker of Hollow Water First Nation whom he married in 1967. They have two children and six grandchildren.

Norman then worked for the Wanipigow Producer's Co-op in Manigotagan for five years, first as one of the pulp wood cutters and then later as the manager. In the mid 1970's, Norman was hired by the provincial government where he would spend a total of 26 years working in various positions including: employment consultant, local development officer, co-op development officer, and consumer services officer.

Norman also spent four years with the Northern Association of Community Councils as a field worker and later as the Executive Director. He also worked for the Manitoba Metis Federation for two years as a Metis Services Officer.

In his later years, Norman continues to be active in the community serving as an Elder and a Pastor. He serves on various boards in the city of Winnipeg. He is also an avid curler and is the founder of the Aboriginal Curling League of Manitoba.

Florence Paynter
Knowledge Keeper of the Anishinabe Nation

We have to stand up for Mother Earth and give her voice. She is one of our entities which continues to support us and provide all its resources to us.”

Knowledge Keeper Florence Paynter is from Sandy Bay First Nation and a band member of Norway House Cree Nation. She is a third degree Mide Anishinabekwe and holds a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Manitoba. Florence speaks Anishinabe fluently and has been involved in many language and cultural initiatives and ceremonies. She helps teach the cultural and spiritual knowledge and traditions of the Anishinabe people.

Florence attended residential school and works hard to teach others about the history of First Nations people, the legacy of Indian residential schools, and its impact on us as people. She believe we are by learning about our families, our own histories and our own languages.

Florence is member of the Grandparent Council of the City of Winnipeg, which meets regularly to help one another with issues and concerns and provide advice. She is also a member of the Speakers Bureau for the Treaty Relations Commission. Florence has shared teachings about First Nations laws and cultures for many years.  In 2015-2016, Florence was an Elder Advisor to the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs with respect to the Enbridge Line 3 hearing.  She is one of the authors of “Ogichi Tibakonigawyin, Kihche Othasowewin, Tako Wakan: The Great Binding Law.”

Mary Maytwayashing

Mary Maytwayashing (Zoongi Gabawi Ozawa Kinew Ikwe, Strong Standing Golden Eagle Woman)

is from the Lake Manitoba First Nation (Animozibeeng – Dog Creek). Mary is an Anishinaabe Grandmother who leads Traditional Ceremonies. Mary’s western educational background is Social Work. Mary’s professional career has been in the areas of Addictions/Substance Abuse, Corrections, Child Welfare and Education.

Mary’s greatest learning has come from the Traditional Knowledge and Wisdom Holders with whom, she has had the privilege of working with. Mary has had the fortune of working with people from all walks of life. Mary’s passion continues to be in assisting and educating people about the Original and Ancient ways of the First People to these lands.

Mary has facilitated along side Grandmothers and Elders teaching young girls and women on the Rites of Passage teachings, Makoose Ka Win (Little Bear Teachings).  Mary’s inspiration comes from experiencing and seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they learn the Teachings of their people.

Mary believes that we are all born and gifted with a purpose. As humans we need to find what our purpose is. This can be done through our ceremonies and teachings. Mary continues to live her purpose by honoring and facilitating the teachings and sharing with the people.

Elder Team


Sabina Ijaz, MD CCFP

Volunteer, Anishinabe Mikinack Kinamakamik, Inc. (Turtle Lodge)

Sabina Ijaz

Dr. Sabina Ijaz (Punjabi; Adopted by Dakota, Miq’maw and Blackfoot Nations).  A proud mother of one son, she obtained her medical degree at McMaster University in 2000, followed by a residency in family medicine and postdoctoral degree in Aboriginal Health at Queen’s University.  Sabina Ijaz has been furthering her education by learning from Indigenous Knowledge Keepers since the early 1990s. 

Dr. Ijaz has been volunteering at the Turtle Lodge since it was built in 2002, as well as working for many years as a hospitalist, family and emergency physician in a number of Manitoba hospitals and First Nation community health centres.  Her medical practice is currently based at the Pine Falls Hospital, where she served as Chief of Staff in 2008. 

Dr. Ijaz’s interest lies in advancing Indigenous perspectives on making an alliance with the Earth to advance peace, stewardship, and healthy individuals and communities.

Dr. Frank Albo

Frank Albo

Dr. Frank Albo is an architectural historian and an expert on communicating new streams of knowledge in relation to the built environment and the cultures of the past. He holds graduate degrees in ancient Near Eastern languages, Western esotericism, and the history of art, receiving his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2012.

Dr. Albo’s approach to architecture, landscape, and design seeks to transform public spaces into interactive journeys of discovery, which elevate the mind and promote a sense of wonder and inspiration. He was featured as the code-breaking protagonist in the best-selling book, The Hermetic Code (now in its fourth printing), and has lectured internationally on a broad range of subjects from the cosmology of Egyptian temples to the minimalism of Modern architecture.

His ground-breaking discoveries on the meanings encoded in public monuments, gardens, and cities have been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, as well as in several radio, television, and documentary programs. With his comprehensive knowledge of world cultures, traditions, and beliefs, Dr. Albo has worked as a consultant for prominent museums and leading design firms. His client list includes the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and the Royal Alberta Museum.

He has also acted as an advisor for major film and television companies, including A&E, the History Channel, Discovery, Nightingale Film Group, and Stornoway Productions. Dr. Albo has a unique ability to peel back conventional history to provide new vistas of thought and perception that help us to re-imagine who we are and the communities to which we belong.

Chandra Erlendson

Chandra Erlendson

Chandra Erlendson is Métis.  A seventh generation granddaughter to Grandmothers who are Saulteaux, Anishnabe, and Cree.  Chandra is born into the ancestral families of Jean-Baptiste and Marie-Anne Lagimodière, and Cuthbert and Marie Grant.  Chandra has a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Winnipeg.  Chandra was recognized and honoured for her leadership in public programming in June 2015, following traditional Indigenous protocols and ceremony at Ogimakamik Leadership Lodge at Turtle Lodge.  Living in Winnipeg, Chandra is dedicated to creating a vibrant and valued cultural community through the arts and culture sector, supporting Indigenous heritage in Canada.  She currently serves as Manager of Public Programming at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.