Land: The Source of Identity
Every society, however it comes into being, sooner or later, claims a territory. Within that territory, the society, over time, develops a relationship with the land including all of its environmental, ecological, and cosmic aspects. From that relationship metaphysics/paradigms develop as to how to interpret phenomenon, events, and other happenings on the land. The metaphysics/paradigms become the interpretive instruments for the society and its members. Those metaphysics/paradigms are embodied by the members of the society resulting in individual and collective identities. The presentation will speak to Land as a Source of Identity.



University of Lethbridge  
Leroy Little Bear is a member of the Small Robes Band of the Blood Indian Tribe of the Blackfoot Confederacy; born and raised on the Blood Indian Reserve; attended and graduated from St. Mary's School on the Blood Indian Reserve; attended and graduated from the University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta with a B.A. Degree in 1971; attended and graduated from the College of Law, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah with a Juris Doctor Degree in 1975. From 1975 to the end of 1996, Mr. Little Bear was a professor in the Native American Studies Dept. at the University of Lethbridge. In January of 1997, Mr. Little Bear retired from the University of Lethbridge. From January 1998 to June 1999, Mr. Little Bear was the Director of the Harvard University Native American Program.

Mr. Little Bear has served in a legal and consultant capacity to many Indian Tribes, and organizations including the Blood Tribe, Indian Association of Alberta, and the Assembly of First Nations of Canada. He has served on many different committees, commissions, and boards including the Task Force on the Criminal Justice and Its Impact on the Indian and Metis Peoples of Alberta in 1990-91.

Mr. Little Bear has authored many articles including "A concept of Native Title" which has been cited in a Canadian Supreme Court decision. He has co-authored books including "Pathways to Self-Determination", "Quest For Justice", and "Governments in Conflict" with Dr. Menno Boldt and Dr. Anthony Long.

In 2003, Mr. Little Bear was the recipient of a Canadian National Aboriginal Achievement Award in Education. In June of 2004, Mr. Little Bear was the recipient of an honorary doctorate degree in Arts and Science from the University of Lethbridge.


Métis Crossing Land-Based Learning Opportunities
Métis Crossing has been a dream of Alberta’s Métis people for decades. That dream is now being realized. As a major initiative of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Métis Crossing will develop experiential Land-Based learning opportunities. Comprised of historic river lots along the North Saskatchewan River, this land base provides us the place to share authentic experiences of how the Métis people learned from, and used, the land as we transitioned from a fur-trading people to buffalo hunters to successful farmers.



Painted Warriors
Tracey Klettl’s roots run deep in the mountains and valleys of Jasper National Park.  Her ancestors were the indigenous guides and scouts that originally inhabited the area, and Tracey was born and raised hiking and horse back riding along these same ancient trails. Tracey combines her experience with a life long pursuit of education and has become a qualified instructor in Hunter Education, Archery, Horseback riding and other guide training programs . She has kept true to the skills that have come naturally to her and utilizes this knowledge in her programs.

Painted Warriors is an outdoor education company that was brought together from the combined idea of Metis operator Tracey Klettl and her husband Tim Mearns who is from the Cote First Nations of Saskatchewan.  They operate within the tourism industry and as a training facility for traditional indigenous guides.

With a Mandate to educate and promote outdoor and cultural skills to students as well as visitors, they understand the challenges and barriers that some students may have experienced in a classroom setting.   As team, they have developed a hands on traditionally based learning program.


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Métis Crossing 
Juanita Marois is a proud member of Alberta’s Métis Nation. She is also the Development Manager leading the Phase II expansion of Métis Crossing’s Cultural Gathering Centre. Juanita earned her MA degree in sustainable tourism from the University of Alberta where she continued as a lecturer for 2 years in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation.


Juanita has expanded her work in tourism as a practitioner, planner, researcher and consultant. She has had unique opportunities to participate in socio-economic development, Indigenous tourism, and community investment projects that now feed her collaborative approach to Métis Crossing.   


nehiyawak Language Experience: Creating a safe place to heal, speak and reclaim Identity
This presentation will share Indigenous language tips for revitalizing Indigenous languages found with practical experience and current best practices of language programs throughout North America. It will also include an intimate discussion on the nehiyawak Language Experience, a grassroots initiative founded in nehiyaw epistemology. The connection to health and well being and its link to land and language working in unison creating whole and healthy nations of Indigenous peoples. Most importantly how language reclaiming is nourishing the learning spirit within.



nehiyawak Language Experience Organization
Belinda C. Daniels (kakiyosew)is a nēhiyaw from Sturgeon Lake First Nations, SK. She takes great pride in remembering her roots and ties to land. She resides in saskatoon-minatohk askiy.

She is a Cree language activist for the preservation and revitalization of all Indigenous languages. She is the founder of the nehiyawak Summer Language Experience (14 years) which has recently become a non-profit organization. Belinda teaches others how to teach Cree as a second language on various First Nations Reserves and at the University of Alberta. Her role in language development, theory and practice has been diverse from teaching language methodologies, curriculum development for K-12 in nēhiyawēwin to programming and now starting business in Language Revitalization.

Belinda is a published academic writer, teacher, mentor and an award winning educator, she was the only Canadian Global Teacher Finalist in 2016 out of 8000 nominations that took her Dubai for the global ceremonies. Amongst her many accomplishments Belinda has traveled nationally and internationally on issues about Indigenous education, language revitalization and Indigenous Identity. Belinda currently teaches Indigenous Studies, Cultural Arts and nehiyawewin Core Language classes for the Saskatoon Public School Division and is a sessional for the Canadian Indigenous Language and Development Institute with the University of Alberta.

Lastly, she is currently a PH.D Candidate with the Interdisciplinary Department at University of Saskatchewan. Belinda’s hobbies and interests include the outdoors, volunteering for various boards like United Way Saskatoon and the Dr. Sterling McDowell Foundation and spending time with family.


Back to the Land
A introduction to the power of the land as a Healer a teacher as a path to balance a helper of humanity.



Tlingit Peacemaker
Phillip Gatensby is a Tlingit Peacemaker. For over 35 years, Phillip has worked with human beings using a value-based transformational approach to human development. This approach is facilitative in nature, drawing on life experiences, Tlingit values, counselling techniques, and the unique perspective of having emerged victorious both from residential school and the correctional system. It is based on the idea of creating healing opportunities that people may draw on their own resources to make healthy choices for themselves, their families and their communities. Phillip has applied this approach across North America, and Europe, in diverse settings with people of all ages, from all walks of life. Street people, Christian groups, gangs and Supreme Court judges have equally found great value in this vision-driven combination of universal truths and modern principles. The approach is profound in its inherent simplicity and powerful in its unfailing ability to transform the lives of those who choose to participate. Phillip has been in the restorative justice/Community justice field from its re-emergence. Phillip has worked many years in the area of land based healing.


Introduction to Inuit Culture
Dressed in a traditional baby carrier, called an amouti, Goota passionately shares her culture through storytelling complemented by authentic Inuit artifacts. She displays items such as the Qulliq (the Inuit stove), skins of different animals and Inuit art. Goota also brings to the class a traditional feast and invites them to try traditional bubble gum, arctic char and more.



Inuit Connections
Dressed in a traditional baby carrier, called an amouti, Goota passionately shares her culture through storytelling complemented by authentic Inuit artifacts. She displays items such as the Qulliq (the Inuit stove), skins of different animals and Inuit art. Goota also brings to the class a traditional feast and invites them to try traditional bubble gum, arctic char and more.


Re-Connecting to the Earth Teaching Lodge (PART 1 & 2)
Indigenous peoples’ ancient and wholistic ways of knowing, being, doing, and feeling are touchstones to support timely transformative processes in education and Canadian society. This presentation is based on educational research with applications to Land-Based Learning. A culture based pedagogical approach with oral tradition at the center brings aspects of language, culture, thought, experience, and storying together. In part 2 of the presentation, participants will explore relational ways of being and participate in a short, guided experience outside to re-connect and nurture relationship with Aki/Land. A story Circle will provide participants with opportunities to share their Truth from experience and to journey inward to deep knowing through listening and reflection. A collective process of living knowledge that is relational and brings heart and mind knowledge forward will inspire educators to nurture their relationship with Aki and guide their students to the Earth Teaching Lodge.

 Learning goals:

  • To experience wholistic Indigenous pedagogy to understand the personal learning process and inform educator action and reflection.

  • To gain appreciation of Indigenous ecological relational ways of being.

  • To develop teaching skills to nurture our sacred relationship with Aki/Land as the foundation to Indigenous Land Based Learning.


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University of Alberta
Sharla is from the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, Ontario, a member of the Loon Clan, and holds a PhD Interdisciplinary Human Studies from Laurentian University. She is an educator who shares Anishinaabe Teachings and educational approaches to honor diversity, the learner's special gifts, and to build knowledge of self-identity and self-in-relation to Aki (the Land) and each other.  She facilitates the honoring of the child's voice and language through the oral tradition and story.  Sharla believes that Aki and our relationship with Place are the basis of Indigenous knowledge systems and all people can benefit from Indigenous philosophy and education. “When you’re in a circle of Anishinaabe pedagogy and way of being, there is no hierarchy whatsoever; everyone is equal and each person is an important part of the process that generates new knowledge, stories and experiences. Knowledge is not a tangible thing. It’s not a stack of books. It’s a lived process of coming-to-know. In that way, everyone is knowledgeable and has wisdom. When we talk about how we transmit knowledge, it’s through shared experience and stories. Everyone has a story, so if we bring that into our schools and institutions, it will naturally bring people together. It’s inclusive as no one is excluded.”

Sharla's recently completed dissertation is entitled "Demonstrating Anishinaabe Storywork Circle Pedagogy: Creating Conceptual Space for Ecological Relational Knowledge in the Classroom" and is an exploration of Indigenous traditions of educational and cultural thought and experiences and the negotiation of space for Aboriginal perspectives within the school context. Sharla is a graduate of the Master of Education program of studies at Nipissing University. Her program of research in 2010 illustrated the pragmatics of First Nations storytelling as she investigated the oral tradition with Anishinaabe children and Elders. She has presented at national and international conferences and delivered numerous workshops for educators, professionals and community practitioners working with Aboriginal children, families and communities. Her publications capture her understandings gained from personal, research, and professional experience.


kihiw waciston Land base learning & language & culture
This session begins by explaining how tobacco was presented to our creator to ask for help to do our job. Gloria and Karen will talk about how they began to bring resource people and Elders into their school to help introduce tradition and culture as well as Land-Based learning. They will present examples of the activities in their school.

The message they wish to leave with the people is that regardless of our experience in tradition and culture our children deserve to know our traditions and culture and how to live off the land, even if that means going out of our comfort zone.



kihiw waciston School Muskeg Lake Cree Nation
Gloria Greyeyes is from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, Treaty Six area. She is a mother to five grown children and kohkom to 13 bbb . 

She was a stay at home mom to 5 children until her youngest started grade 10. It was at the time she began her Bachelor of Social Work degree that she was encouraged to reconnect with the tradition and cultural roots. She learned that when you present tobacco and cloth to the Creator, tradition and culture fall into place.

She has been working in Muskeg Lake at the kihiw waciston school as the community school coordinator from 2016- present. In her current position, she has had the opportunity to bring tradition and cultural activities as well as Land-Based Learning into the school. Her methods include: engaging elders from the community, resourcing people from other reserves to share their knowledge with our students, and inviting the community members to come and learn with us.



kihiw waciston School Muskeg Lake Cree Nation
Karen Morin nehiyaw from Big River First Nation in Treaty Six Territory.  She is married with one child has a B. Ed and has taught Language & Culture for several years. She was employed with the Saskatoon Tribal Council as the Language & Culture Coordinator and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations as a Program Manager for Early Learning & Child Care. She has always been passionate about learning and the teachings from her late parents and Elders. Currently, she works for kihiw waciston school, Muskeg Lake Cree Nation as the Land Based Education, Language & Culture teacher.


We have Always had Knowledge of STEM
A national Land Based Indigenous Knowledge/STEM high school credit program, Indigenous youth continue to participate in an education system that does not recognize or accredit their inherent knowledge of self and place. More specifically, the education system often ignores the fact Indigenous peoples have always had STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and Arts knowledge in our communities. There continues to be a lack of STEM related courses within the education system that reflect Indigenous ways of knowing through Land-Based learning. This session will share how Actua’s InSTEM program has aligned these two knowledges’ by creating partnerships with communities, school boards and universities to delivery credit courses and credit land programs that contribute to an improved experience and educational outcomes for Indigenous students. Presenters share the programs development process, successes, examples of course material, and tools to help educators integrate Indigenous knowledge with curricula.



Actua, InSTEM Program
Noreen Demeria is Anishnabe from Rolling River First Nation in Manitoba and holds a BA in Humanities from the University of Calgary. Noreen is currently enrolled in an Interdisciplinary Masters of Education program, “A Call to Action” — a program developed in direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.



Actua, InSTEM Program
Doug Dokis, is a member of the Dokis Anishinabek Nation in northern Ontario. Doug has over 25 years’ working for, and advocating on behalf of Indigenous peoples. Much of his work has been in Alberta working with Treaty 6 and 7 communities and youth. As an educator at Mount Royal University and SAIT Polytechnic, Doug always looked at land based learning as a critical element of any Indigenous programming and student support.  His primary focus has been systemic change by developing and advancing educational programming that is grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Most recently, Doug has returned to Ontario where he now leads the InSTEM program for Actua, where he focusses on aligning Indigenous ways of knowing with STEM education within the education system.


Red Crow Community College, Eminent Scholar Program & Land-Based Learning from Place-Sacred Sites
The Eminent Scholar Program recognizes traditional teachings from our Kaassinnooks (elders) who have the right to define the criteria for competency of Blackfoot specific knowledge of higher learning at RCCC. RCCC bestowed Eminent Scholar status to a group of 20+ members in 2003. The Elders Advisory Council is an eight member council derived from the Eminent Scholar Program. This presentation will focus on how they indigenize academic programs at RCCC and will highlight Learning from Place – Sacred Sites.

Blair First Rider


Blair First Rider, BA, is the Aboriginal Consultation Advisory Aboriginal Heritage for Alberta Culture and Tourism Heritage Division, Historic Resources management Branch Cardston Provincial Building, Cardston, AB. He is also an Eminent Scholar for Red Crow Community College.

Mary Weasel Fat


Red Crow Community College   
Mary Weasel Fat, BA/BED University of Lethbridge, University of Calgary, MEd Interdisciplinary Program Poo’miikapi: Niitsitapii Approaches to Wellness (Aug. 2017 to present)

Mary is Blackfoot from Kainai First Nation/Blood Tribe in Southern Alberta. She is the Library Coordinator, Elder Coordinator and part-time instructor at Mikaisto (Red Crow) Community College, Standoff, Alberta. Most recently Mary wrote a chapter in the book - Aboriginal and Visible Minority Librarians: Oral Histories from Canada.

She was instrumental in establishing the Kainai Public Library in Standoff, the first public library on an Indian Reserve in Alberta, and received the Library Association of Alberta President’s Award.



Red Crow Community College
Roy Weasel Fat "Namahkan (hunting and bring back coup)" was born and raised in Kainai where he continues to live and be involved in community initiatives. He was a Kiipiitapoka from a young age, having lived with his grandparents for three summers he learned about being a Niitsitapii. He attended St Paul's Residential School for four years.

Kiipaitapiiysinnoni (Our Way of Life) is where Roy learned that change in a human beings can begin to take place.  Kiipaitapiiysinnoni is an interconnected Blackfoot value system. It takes time to learn about the Kiipaitapiiysinnoni values, but eventually it comes and you realize what elders having been telling or showing you.

Roy is a society member in the Brave Dog Society (Kanatsumita).  He was inducted into this society at the annual Sundance ceremonies in the summer of 2011.  It was suggested by the elders of the Kainai community to become a member of this society to further his learning journey to being Niitsitapi.  He credits his learning and journey of being Niitsitapi to Kainai elders; Andrew Black Water (Ahtsootoaa), Alan Prairie Chicken (Aotahkoisaapo'p), Pete Standing Alone (Nitakaisaamailoan), Louise Crop Eared Wolf (Sakowohtaomaahkaa), Rosie Red Crow (Tsiinaaki) and other Blackfoot elders.  He considers the learning received from these elders a great honor.

Roy has continued his journey in lifelong-learning through elder teachings and membership in Brave dog Society. He practices the Blackfoot values instilled in him by elders and society members in Niitsitapi  community.



A member of the Red Crow Community College Eminent Scholars and RCCC Board of Governors. Began his Spiritual Journey of learning and promoting the Blackfoot Way of Life. Was a 3 time member of the Sacred Horn Society, twice being a bundle owner and caregiver.  Currently a member of the Brave Dog Society, had a Grizzly Bear Design Tipi transferred to him in 2012. The lodge was a stolen lodge that belonged to the Nakoda Nation. Cal decolonized his mind of Western Ways at the age of 27 and has never looked back, he now passes on teachings of his Elders to the young and those pursuing their Post-Secondary Journey and Life Long Learning.


Tipi Building and Teaching
This workshop will engage participants in an interactive workshop whereby an actual tipi replica will be erected according to the traditional methodology and all the knowledge that this symbol represents. The First Nations pedagogy will be highlighted and demonstrate how oral tradition are passed on to future generations through the utilization of items that are still part of survival, the plains tipi is one of them. The tipi has been adopted by the First Nations as an icon to represent the peoples of North America. The many components and accessories of the tipi have symbolic meaning that unravels a story of vision in the actual design of the tipi, the components being the chapters. The participants will engage in actual tipi installation and the story will unfold as the components come together into a dwelling. The technical design of the tipi in fact applies scientific theory in structural engineering and applies mathematical geometry concepts. The story will culminate into the actual experiencing the comforts and practicality of the tipi whereby the participants will be told a story once installation is complete.

Stanley Peltier


Stanley is Odawa from the Wikwemikong Unceded Reserve on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. He is of the Waawaakeshi Clan and speaks fluent Anishinaabemowin. Stanley has 40 years experience as a classroom teacher in elementary and post secondary education. Stanley understands the community and language context of teaching in a First Nation school as well as teaching in urban and rural public schools.

Recently, Stanley has embarked on researching Innovative Anishinaabemowin methodology to shift from the use of a Second Language methodology. A Second Language teaching approach shifts the actual cognitive processing into the anglicized  interpretation of Anishinaabemowin in a general way and arrives at overly simplistic and literal terms. This Masters of Education Thesis research provides a preview of how Anishinaabe pedagogy has its own model.

Stanley has participated in academic and community-based research projects in Ontario and Alberta, supporting and guiding as a community collaborator - Elder.  He has mentored graduate students and provided mentorship to language teachers and professionals over the past 10 years.


Dechinta Centre for Research & Learning - Land Based Learning
This session will outline how Dechinta’s model of Indigenous led land based higher education empowers students and revitalizes Indigenous traditions and cultures which helps to provide solutions to many social and economic issues that communities in the Northwest Territories currently face.

Catherine Lafferty


Catherine is a Dene woman from the Northwest Territories. Her First Nation affiliation is with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, with over 1500 members, Catherine is a Council Member on the Chief and Council. In 2013 she received a Bachelor of Arts in Justice Studies from Royal Roads University. She is an advocate for Indigenous issues, particularly in the north. She is a visionary, motivated to create positive changes in her community, and inspire others to follow their dreams. Since January of 2018 she has been the Director of Indigenous Education and Community Development with Dechinta. She is a mother of two and a writer in her spare time with a memoir of the north recently released entitled “Northern Wildflower”. This memoir depicts the importance of education as an Indigenous person and the ways Indigenous people can make changes within the colonial governing system in Canada.