Respectful Engagement with Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, and/or Old Ones

Category: Governance
Number: GOV-040-025
Audience: All University employees
Issued: December 17, 2018
Revised: December 17, 2018
Owner(s): Executive Lead (Indigenization)
Approved by: President and Vice-Chancellor
Contact: Executive Lead, Indigenization - 306-337-2944

Introduction

The University of Regina is committed to supporting and celebrating cultural diversity. Indigenization remains an overarching priority in the University Strategic Plan (2015-2020) as reflected in the statement: Indigenization is a shared responsibility.

The University recognizes that Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis/Michif peoples) students, faculty, staff and community engage in various types of relationships in order to learn/teach, conduct research, and facilitate traditional ways of knowing. The University also recognizes that First Nations and Métis peoples have their own protocols for learning from Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, and/or Old Ones. This policy is meant to provide guidance to the University community in engaging in these traditions and knowledge systems.

The University respects Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Kihci-anihsinapek/ Old Ones/ LifeSpeakers/ Elders/ Traditional Knowledge Keepers who help the University community to learn more about Indigenous ways of knowing. Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, and/or Old Ones are understood to provide a variety of short-term, one-off, or longer-term services in places of higher learning. Some services may include, but are not limited to:

·         Providing a prayer at the beginning and/or end of an event or meeting.

·         Offering ceremony (smudge, pipe, etc.).

·         Sharing knowledge as a guest lecturer in a class.

·         Providing consultation and guidance related to university governance.

·         Attending meetings with the Indigenous Advisory Circle and/or the Aboriginal Student Centre.

·         Providing guidance and knowledge for a research project.

·         Participating in graduate student thesis committee membership.

·         Informing course re-design and curriculum development.

·         Providing personal counselling for faculty, staff and/or students.

Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, or Old Ones who are willing to share traditional knowledge and cultural practices enrich university life by informing research and teaching, faculty, students and staff, and leading cultural events on campus. In order to establish and maintain positive relationships with community, university representatives who wish to engage in these traditions and ceremonies are encouraged to learn, understand, and respect the cultural protocols of Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, and/or Old Ones from the point of contact, throughout the engagement, and beyond.

The University understands that in order to further Indigenize the campus, we have to establish policies and procedures that provide a common shared understanding of how to do this work in a respectful way.

Policy

The University of Regina recognizes that working with Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, and/or Old Ones is essential to the preservation, restoration and revitalization of Indigenous traditional ways of knowing; staff, faculty and others are encouraged to invite, engage with and work alongside Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, and/or Old Ones.

The support of diversity is a shared responsibility at all levels of the University. This policy reflects recognition for the shared responsibility for Indigenization for all faculty, staff, and students at the University.

The related purposes of this policy are to establish protocol and guidelines for working with Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, and/or Old Ones to ensure consistency, respectful invitations and interactions, and to provide recommended rates and guidelines for honoraria and related costs.

Roles and Responsibilities

It is your responsibility to approach Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, and/or Old Ones and to process honoraria. Please follow the University of Regina’s Human Resources’ “Guide to Honorariums” to process honoraria. How Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, and/or Old Ones are approached and treated will determine whether you have a successful engagement with them.

The Office of Indigenization can help guide the process of approaching Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, and/or Old Ones, if needed. We remind you that Indigenization is a personal journey. It requires building relationships with Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, and/or Old Ones; it’s not a contract for knowledge exchange, but a long-term relationship. Please recognize the historic and on-going legacies of colonialism that have shaped their long lives. 

  1. For one-time invitations, staff and faculty are encouraged to:

Review and respect the appropriate protocols as identified by the Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, and/or Old Ones honoraria table (Appendix A)

It is important to complete the paperwork for honoraria two weeks ahead of time so that the Elder, Traditional Knowledge Keeper, and/or Old One may receive their monetary gifts at the time of the event or ceremony.

Please refer to existing policies with respect to purchasing commitment limits (see GOV-010-035 Purchasing Goods and Services). It is also recommended that you consult your faculty or administrative unit head prior to requesting an Elder, Traditional Knowledge Keeper, or Old One and, when necessary, you comply with other policies or guidelines (such as external grant funding policies).

  1. For short-term invitations, staff and faculty are encouraged to:

Contact the Office of Indigenization for guidance and support to develop an employment relationship with the Elder, Traditional Knowledge Keeper, and/or Old One. Contact Human Resources to “set up” employee.

  1. Associate Vice-Presidents, Deans, Directors, Department Heads and Supervisors are encouraged to:

Provide information to their staff regarding the importance of Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, and/or Old Ones in supporting, maintaining, and revitalizing the Indigenous traditional modes of knowledge transmission.

  1. The University Executive are encouraged to:

Support diversity and inclusivity among the University community, and encourage the traditional forms of knowledge transmission reflective of this Treaty territory.

Consequences for Noncompliance

Failure to comply with this policy may result in delays in payment to Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, and/or Old Ones and their inability to follow best practices in traditional protocols.

Related Information