When it comes to gaining wisdom, age definitely plays a role. For some, however, that age is younger than you might think.
NorQuest College’s newest Resident Elder, Delores Cardinal of the Goodfish Lake First Nation, may be turning 58 this year, but she’s “been doing Elder work” since she was 32 years old.
Between then and now, Cardinal has been a trusted spiritual leader at home and around the province, spreading the word of Elders before her and serving as a counselor, mentor, and friend. Her role at NorQuest won’t change from the role she is already playing out in life.
“We have our own teachings and we try to practice sharing, caring, respecting one and another, loving one and another. The way I see it we are all human beings on the same earth, under the same sky, under the same sun. And I talk to a lot of people who are not Aboriginal. To learn and benefit from our teachings you don’t have to be Aboriginal.”
Elders at NorQuest College are there to serve all students, staff, and faculty members. Tony Arcand of the Alexander First Nation has been providing this important work at the Edmonton Downtown Campus (where Cardinal will also serve) since August of 2013. At the college’s Wetaskiwin Campus, Mary Moonias of Maskwacis has been using her gentle and soothing methods since late 2014.
“If you feel comfortable with me I will try to help the best way I can,” says Cardinal, who uses very traditional methods in her interactions with people. “For example, smudging. The teaching of smudging is very important to learn, such as why do we smudge, when do we smudge?”