Introduction to the Knowledge Space

Much careful thought – ayâkwâmisiwin – has gone into the creation of this Knowledge Space.

The Elders of kêhtê-ayak, the Elders’ Council of First Nations University of Canada, welcome you, and in choosing to share some of their knowledge, they ask that you kindly practice careful thought as well.

NCCIE invites you to read the Introduction below, then click on the next tab – “Introductory Videos” – and begin your learning journey there.

In 2005, Maria Campbell, a Cree Elder, wrote about the challenges of relying on the written word to share knowledge grounded in oral traditions:

Our new storytellers have a big job. They must understand … the new language [English] and use it to express their stories without losing the thoughts and images that are culturally unique to them. This new storyteller must also be a translator of the old way, so that it will not be lost to a new generation. And all this must be done on paper, for that is the new way.

With the expanding digital age, reliance solely on paper and two-dimensional representations of Indigenous knowledges have given way to being able once again to privilege voices over written words.

NCCIE has been honoured to work with kêhtê-ayak, the Elders at First Nations University of Canada, who have bravely embarked on a journey with NCCIE to explore the opportunities to learn visually and orally through the World Wide Web and documentary filmmaking.

We have grounded this journey in ceremony and have asked for blessings of the ancestors to guide this work in good ways. We have been careful to consider what can and cannot be shared.

This knowledge space is just a beginning.

The spirit and intent of what is being shared in this space is to awaken people to the importance of Indigenous knowledges in today’s world.

To learn more, seek out the Elders and Knowledge Holders where you live and spend time with them. They are keen to pass on what they can so this and future generations can learn what the Old Ones came to know over millennia for the survival of their people and for living in balance with all our relations, all Creation.

Deep gratitude is extended to kêhtê-ayak, the ancestors, and all those involved in contributing to this Knowledge Space, which has been made possible through a partnership between First Nations University of Canada, NCCIE and Cazabon Productions.

Wheeler, W. (2005). Reflections on the social relations of Indigenous oral histories. In D. McNab & U. Lischke (Eds.), Walking a tightrope: Aboriginal people and their representations (pp. 189-213). Waterloo, ON; Wilfrid Laurier University Press.