Annual gathering explores traditional role of elders in guiding First Nations

More than 100 elders from First Nations across Ontario gathered in Wahta Mohawks territory this week to discuss priority issues impacting their communities. The annual Elders Gathering, held over three days, gave participants the opportunity to share their knowledge with political leaders, and to explore the role they play in guiding their communities.

Tom Porter
Tom Porter

“We have many pressing issues in our Nations right now, and a lot of work before us as we continue towards reclamation,” said Gordon Peters, Grand Chief of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI). “Part of the reclamation process is restoring our traditional ways of governance and decision making, and our elders are central to that.”

The event featured a keynote address from Tom Porter, a renowned author, teacher, and spiritual leader from the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne as well as presentations on lateral violence, reclamation, health and wellness, and sharing traditional teachings.

Elders also had the opportunity to participate in roundtable discussions with Chiefs of their communities and political staff to share their feedback and advice.

“Traditionally, we have always turned to our elders for their guidance, wisdom and leadership in our Nations,” added Grand Chief Peters. “We must continue to bring back these practices, and respect our elder’s leadership and knowledge.”

AIAI is mandated as a Provincial Territorial Organization (PTO) to defend and enhance the Aboriginal and Treaty rights of our seven member First Nations. Our member nations include: Batchewana First Nation, Caldwell First Nation, Delaware Nation, Hiawatha First Nation, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and the Wahta Mohawks. Learn more at, on Twitter @AIAI_comms and on Facebook.

For more information, please contact Suzanne Morrison at or 519.281.6238.