Oomkitapiiks Aisksinimatstohkiya: Elder’s Teachings

Very rarely does one get the opportunity, time and space to look at their world from a different perspective. The Elder’s Teachings session on June 22 did just that.  Through the teachings of Clement Bear Chief, Clarence Wolfleg and Ruth Scalp Lock, some of us began to understand our world in a new way, while others found familiarity in their teachings.

As the session progressed, my head continued to nod in agreeance, while my mind took note of the knowledge being shared. Clement Bear Chief shared some clear and powerful teachings saying, “our life is our church and our church is our life” and “we see everything in a sacred way”. He spoke about Indigenous spirituality and how his people already “knew the heavens, they weren’t heathens”.

Clarence Wolfleg spoke of the importance of one’s journey through life and the ability to share how you got to where you are – because that is your story. He spoke to the significance of creating the space needed to understand a story. Clarence shared how once when he was a boy he asked his uncle a question and did not return home for two days. This made everyone laugh, but it revealed the sacredness of stories and the time they deserve.

Ruth Scalp Lock spoke to Elder protocol and the importance of giving an Elder time to think about the teachings they want to share, “when you ask an Elder for information, don’t expect to get an answer right away, they need time to sort out how they will give you the answer.” She also spoke to the importance of listening and that through listening “we learn from everyone who is talking.”

This session provided us with a small glimpse into the complex oral traditions of the Blackfoot People. Their truths, their history and their life. I feel honoured to be able to spend a summer learning from different Elders and understanding the diversity within Indigenous culture.


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