traditional thinkers' circle

the graph below represents the four sectors that the council will impact. this is an age-related medicine wheel with the students to the east, the faculty and staff to the south, our partners to the west and the board, president and wisdom that oversees to the north. the traditional thinkers' circle impacts each of these sectors as the council’s role is developed. each area will have its own mandate. creation of the council will begin in the east inviting students to share the names of their elders. once a group, apprised of student recommendations of the names of their traditional thinkers and the traditional thinkers have accepted, then that group of traditional thinkers can help to build the next section(s).



phase one of the traditional thinkers' circle will begin in the student quarter of the age-graded circle. we will invite students to begin to populate this segment of the traditional thinkers' circle.

a form will be developed where students can enter the names and contact information for themselves and the traditional thinkers, from their communities. this will be promoted through the student association of mount royal university (samru). 

the advantage of this invitation is multidimensional.  

  • we want students to be assured that they have access to their own Indigenous knowledge holders, traditional thinkers and culture while studying at mru. it is about feeling welcome and knowing their culture is being respected. 
  • we acquire a foundational listing of Indigenous in many communities. 
  • we welcome and learn more about how to respect all Indigenous cultural knowledge holders. 
  • mru professors have access to more traditional thinkers from a wider variety of communities who could share their knowledge as guest speakers in class.
  • the traditional thinkers who emerge through this process can be the advisors in the next stages of development. this will most likely be carried out electronically. 
  • we build confidence in mru’s commitment to Indigenous initiatives.

the council operations will supply technology that they can make available to traditional thinkers who are at a distance.     

access to traditional thinkers from the students' own communities provides traditional knowledge that the students know and respect from their own cultures.



list of traditional thinkers names

as the list of traditional thinkers starts to accumulate, we will ask the students to be our messengers and ask the traditional thinkers if they would like to be part of mru’s traditional thinkers' circle.

if they agree, we will provide a package to the student to explain what the elders/knowledge holders/traditional thinkers' role will be. the traditional thinkers will be asked the following:

  • would they be available as an advisor and cultural guide for students?
  • would they provide students with support?

cultural compensation for being available online or by phone would be determined by the number of times they are accessed. 



the use of a messenger is a very old, respectful Indigenous tradition. elders should not be put into a position where they might be embarrassed. the messenger in this case would be the student who put the name forward. the messenger is always someone who knows the individual traditional thinkers well and knows what protocols they prefer. the messenger plays several roles. they act as our messenger and ask the elder if they are interested in being involved with the development of the traditional thinkers' circle. we must provide details to the messenger so they can discuss how the process would work and answer any questions the traditional thinkers may have. once traditional thinkers are certain they are interested, we finalize things. this includes asking for a time commitment from the elder (once a year, one semester, etc.) depending on how a committee determines the right length of time. once all the questions have been answered, if the elder agrees to take the position then there is a formal introduction set up with oid and the elders. the messenger now acts as our liaison and formally introduces us to the elder. at this point, we must ensure we honour the messenger with a gift after the introduction is complete.