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Annual Gathering Of Elders Workshop Hosted By Cultural Centre

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      APRIL 1994      v23 n03 p03  
The Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre hosted their Annual Gathering of Elders Workshop at The First Nations Education & Training Centre in Saskatoon on March 14-16, 1994. Forty-three elders were gathered for the two-day workshop, with representatives from all five language groups in Saskatchewan.

The Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre's Board of Governors decided that a "Cultural Guidance manual" should be made available to the general public on protocol. They emphasized that this was a much needed project, since more and more of the Non-Indian society are attending our ceremonies today and also our own children are losing both their language and their culture.

An outline for a "Cultural Guidance Manual" was presented to he Elders for their guidance and were asked to speak on such topics as: Feast, Sweat-Lodge, Vision Quest, Pipe, Eagle Feather, Doctoring, etc.

The information from this workshop will be gathered and compiled into a draft format and again prevented to the Elders for their final approval before being made available to the public in a book format.

Jim Masyk and Gary Adams from Grassslands National Park also made a presentation to the Elders and asked for their guidance on the Sacred Site Preservation Issue. A proposal was put forth to the Council of Elders:

1. Decide whether you agree with the concept of Grasslands National Park being declared a National Historic Site, commemorating the 10,000 year history of the Native People in the area. If The Native People are supportive, a statement would be needed.

2. Work with Parks Canada to define how various types of archaeological sites are to be treated, for instance, should we allow visitors at a medicine wheel, and if so, should their movement be restricted? What kinds of research can be allowed? Non-damaging recording, archeological testing, excavation if threatened by erosion?

3. Regardless of the decision reached on the designation of Grasslands National Park a Historic Site, a continual liaison will be required with the Indian People of Saskatchewan. What arrangements will be made? A special steering Committee, Chiefs & Council, Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre, of some other group?

After many discussions, it was recommended that a committee, representing the Indian People of Saskatchewan, should be designated to meet with the Park Administrators to continue talks on the Sacred Site Preservation Issue.

The Annual Gathering of Elders closed with a Feast at noon.