For the purposes of the CCPA Indigenous CEC Initiative, the terms “Traditional Indigenous Teacher”, “Healer”, and “Elder” will be utilized interchangeably.
Said terms are intended to recognize Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit or Métis) individuals who are recognized traditional Indigenous teachers/healers/Elders by their given Indigenous communities. This includes, but is not limited to, Indigenous peoples who also hold titles/ designations such as Pipe-Carriers, Wisdom Keepers, Knowledge Holders, or Traditional Knowledge Keepers. Essential to both the traditional healer and traditional teacher, Elders are Indigenous people who make a life commitment to the health and holistic healing of their community and Indigenous people. The selfless and lifelong commitment of Elders emerge from their understanding of their role as a healer and is based on the understanding that you have to put healing in the hands of the Creator, because that is where health comes from. It needs to be recognized that healers may not be Elders; however, all Elders can be considered healers to some degree. Having said that, traditional healers often hold positions of high respect in Indigenous communities even if they are not considered Elders (Ellerby, 2001; Hart, 2002; Moodley & West, 2005).
Ellerby J. (2001). Working with Indigenous Elders: Based on the teachings of Winnipeg-area Indigenous Elders and cultural teachers. Winnipeg, MB: University of Manitoba Native Studies Press.
Hart, M.A. (2002). Seeking Mino-Pimatisiwin: An Aboriginal approach to helping. Halifax, NS: Fernwood.
Moodley, R., & West, W. (Eds.) (2005). Integrating traditional healing: Practices in counseling and psychotherapy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.