District of Temiskaming Elders Council

The Elders Council meets a minimum of 20 days per year as a Council. The Elders will be consulted in an advisory capacity a minimum of once per year, and as needed throughout the project, at their scheduled meetings. Additional meetings of the Indigenous research team may be hosted by the Elders Council, as was done with the SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis project, in February 2017.

Wisdom Keepers from the District of Temiskaming have guided the work of the “Inclusive Early Childhood Service System Project: a longitudinal study of familial viewpoints of early childhood disability services” from the outset. Their decision was influenced by several factors, chief among them being the care and concern they have for their children and grandchildren with disabilities who often experience marginalization and exclusion in accessing services. The focus of this 7-year study on hearing directly from Indigenous parents and other caregivers regarding their experiences in accessing services for their children was key to their decision. The Wisdom Keepers recognized the early years of childhood as a critical time of rapid development predictive of many social and developmental outcomes later in life. They concluded the examination of how institutional differences in the early years affect Indigenous children with disabilities where the rates are almost double that of the general population was essential to the health and welfare of children.

They were also influenced by the approach taken by the IECSS team to formalize the partnership with the Wisdom Keepers based on the principles of OCAP (Ownership, Control, Access and Possession) with respect to Indigenous cultural knowledge, data, and information. Finally, the sharing of resources including an investment in building local research capacity contributed to their decision to engage in a partnership with the research team and Ryerson University.