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 a 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 with the support of our Elders and Knowledge Keepers and through partnerships with the broader Indigenous community.
Our Elders-in-Residence are here to 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. They are here to support all students and staff at Red River College. Located in the Indigenous Student Support Centres at the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses, Elders-in-Residence offer cultural teaching sessions, one-on-one appointments, classroom visits and lead ceremonies.
Jules Lavallee was born in St. Laurent, Manitoba. He was raised in a Métis lifestyle of fishing, hunting and trapping. His family taught him a rich and beautiful way of Métis life and how everything has to do with the culture (language, foods and customs). He received teachings from many elders from different nations including Dakota (Sioux), Cree, Ojibway, and others. Jules has dedicated the last thirty years to earning traditional practices via ceremony and in healing, teaching or sharing circles. As an educator, Jules has been implementing those wisdoms, knowledges and insights in The Red Willow Lodge that Jules, along with his family, ran for years; and teaching courses via the University of Manitoba along with the numerous workshops, programs and sessions he continues to conduct.
Jules is a pipe carrier, sweat-lodge conductor, and has been one of the Elders-in-Residence at Red River College since 2004.
Paul Guimond is part of the Turtle Clan and his spirit name is Okonace (Little Eagle Bone). He and his wife Kim have three children, 16 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Paul is a Sundance Bundle Carrier (Chief), Sweat Lodge Bundle Carrier (Water drum) and Dark Room Bundle Carrier. He studied Counselling Skills at the University of Manitoba. In Sagkeeng, Paul sat on Chief & Council for 20 years and served as the School Board Chairman for ten years. He is an active elder with Addictions Foundation of Manitoba and Sagkeeng Child & Family Services, offering healing, spiritual growth and personal development through ceremony, programming and establishing healthy relationships. Paul is also a certified coach in hockey, baseball and lacrosse. Paul joined the Elder-in-Residence Program at Red River College in 2018.
Una Swan is a band member of Fisher River Cree Nation. She is 53-years-old and has three boys and one grandson. She says she is very close to her culture, both from a physical and spiritual aspect. She has worked at various grassroots organizations over the past 20 years as Aboriginal Cultural and Spiritual Liaison and as an Elder. She is a teaching and healing Elder. She has found this work to be giving, receiving and extremely rewarding. Of her various places of employment, she says one of her more memorable places was St. Amant Centre. Working there gave her a new perspective on her own life and the lives of others.
For students looking to speak with an Elder, please use the contact us form.
As part of our national journey with Reconciliation, we encourage all our Red River College Community to learn more about the role of our Elders and to connect with them. If you would like to meet with an Elder or discuss requesting an Elder for a teaching, sharing or healing circle, or learn more about how time with an Elder can help support your curricular outcomes, please use the request form on Staff Forum.