Indigenous world views are centered on relationships and their value – relationships which connect us with ourselves, each other, our environment, and our Creator. It is through our interactions with one another that we are able to form good relations and share valuable life teachings. Elders have always held positions of high esteem and importance–they are the living libraries that hold the wisdom, history and cultural knowledge of our Nations.
Indigenous Education is stronger at Red River College Polytechnic with the support of Elders, Grandmothers and Knowledge Keepers and through partnerships with the broader Indigenous community.
The Elders-in-Residence, Grandmothers-in-Residence and Knowledge Keepers-in-Residence support education through Indigenous ways of teaching, learning and leading. They play an important role in student and staff health, wellness, and cultural and spiritual development. Elders, Grandmothers and Knowledge Keepers provide all students and staff at Red River College Polytechnic the opportunity to experience traditional, community-based support.
With offices located in the Indigenous Support Centres at the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses, Elders-in-Residence offer cultural teaching sessions, one-on-one appointments, classroom visits and opportunities for the College community to participate in Ceremony.
Paul Guimond is part of the Turtle Clan and his Spirit Name is Okonace (Little Eagle Bone). He lives with his wife Kim in Sagkeeng First Nation and together they have three children, 16 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Elder Paul studied Counselling Skills at the University of Manitoba and is a certified coach in hockey, baseball and lacrosse.
In Sagkeeng, Elder Paul sat on Chief & Council for 20 years and served as the School Board Chairman for ten years. Elder Paul is a Sundance Bundle Carrier (Chief), Sweat Lodge Bundle Carrier (Water drum) and Dark Room Bundle Carrier. He is an active Elder with Addictions Foundation of Manitoba and Sagkeeng Child & Family Services, where he offers healing, guidance in spiritual growth and personal development through ceremony, programming and encouraging healthy relationships.
Elder Paul joined the Elder-in-Residence Program at Red River College Polytechnic in 2018.
Richard is part of the Sturgeon Clan and his Spirit Name is Mashkode – Bizhiki (Buffalo Man). He is Métis and discovered the Red Road after becoming a foster parent with Sagkeeng Child and Family Services. Uncovering his Indigeneity and attending Sweat Lodges and Sundances helped Richard overcome personal adversities, such as the workplace injury that prevented him from continuing his career in mining.
For the last three years, Richard has been a Knowledge Keeper with Sagkeeng Anicinabe High School in Sagkeeng First Nation. He takes youth out onto the land picking medicine and collecting grandfathers (sacred stones for Sweat Lodges), firewood, and tiipii poles. He and his wife Tammy have four children and four grandchildren. Richard facilitates workshops like medicine picking, hand drum building, and Sweat Lodges with multiple organizations, including Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Center, Sagkeeng Child and Family Services and RRC Polytech.
Janice Millar was born and raised in Winnipeg to an Inninew mother and Métis father and grew up with four sisters. Today, she’s a proud mother of five and grandmother of three.
Grandmother Janice received a Bachelor of Education and Post Baccalaureate in Counseling at the University of Manitoba. For 37 years, she worked at the Winnipeg School Division as a counselor and support for Indigenous students in addition to her work with teachers, vice principals, principals, directors and school board committee members. She has recently retired and continues her work in the community.
The foundation of Grandmother Janice’s work is clearing a path to student success with the result of creating equitable learning environments for all students. She was schooled in Western education and taught by the old people in Indigenous Education. Grandmother Janice joined the Indigenous Student Support Team in 2023 and is looking forward to her journey in getting to know the students at the College.
Grandmother Ivy is a full-blood Dakota woman with family ties in Sioux Valley First Nation and marriage ties to Sayisi Dené First Nation. She was raised in a traditional family and community, to whom she is known as a warrior—she fought her way through Residential School, where she had run away from as a young person. She joined others in Winnipeg who had also run away and survived on the streets.
She completed high school and attended the University of Manitoba. She has committed her life to working for her people and to build and urban community for Indigenous children. She’s helped founded many organizations and organized the first annual walk for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two Spirit People. She’s worked for schools and post-secondaries and provided guidance to institutions in health education and various governmental departments.
As a Koonshi (a Dakota Grandmother), Grandmother Ivy is committed to supporting youth who face many barriers and to the individuals who also support students.
When requesting an Elder, Grandmother or Knowledge Keeper through the Support Centre Coordinator, please be as specific as possible: date, time, location, reason for the request, and what you hope to receive from the Elder and/or Knowledge Keeper.
Please observe appropriate cultural protocols when approaching Elders, Grandmothers and Knowledge Keepers for services. They are deeply respected within Indigenous communities and have many community obligations beyond the College. Please prepare an offering when you make the request for their services; many Elders, Grandmothers and Knowledge Keepers can advise on what to offer them, but a tobacco offering is often acceptable. Staff can make an inventory request through Procurement Services to obtain tobacco appropriate for an offering. If you’re unsure of your approach, you are always welcome to ask the Support Centre Coordinator for advice.
If the request requires the Elder/Grandmother/Knowledge Keeper to travel, please ensure parking arrangements have been made with the venue’s facilities.
Please make requests at least five business days in advance through the Support Centre Coordinator to ensure that the Elders/Grandmothers/Knowledge Keepers have ample time to consider your request within their existing schedules. More information and bookings can be made on our Contact page.
RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.
We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.