Knowledge Transfer

Knowledge Transfer – Ensuring The Teachings are Connecting our Generations

By Norma Large, LLB, Policy Advisor, Saddle Lake Cree Nation

The past 10 months have been witness to some of the most amazing activities for many of our members and more is yet come. In fall 2016, the Nation embarked on a concerted effort to ensure that our teachings and understandings of our nehiyaw way of life were being transferred from those who know to the young people. We started with hosting quarterly community gatherings, which initially we called elder and youth gatherings. This was done because at our early discussions in strategy development consistently young people were saying “teach us!” The Elders or knowledge holders would, in turn, be very concerned that the young people were not interested in the traditional knowledge of the people.

Knowledge Transfer is the language we are using to describe the act of transmitting the understandings and oral history from our knowledge holders and elders to the young people. We have proceeded on a voluntary basis and the efforts have been successful and very good to see. We are working to ensure our young people have the resources and tools necessary to not only mitigate changes in nature (climate change) but also to ensure that there is preservation to our way of life. In the coming weeks and months ahead, leadership in Saddle Lake are supporting the continuing focus on the knowledge transfer initiative and we have already put in another proposal to continue our work!

To respond, the Nation was successful in obtaining funding from Health Canada’s Climate Adaptation Program to undertake a knowledge transfer initiative that would bring elders/knowledge holders and young people together ‘out on the land.’ The intention is to transfer knowledge about our way of life, from hunting/fishing, gathering of berries/medicines and telling stories as a means to replacing the perceived disconnect between generations with a consistent effort to ensure the understandings continue for many more moons to come.

We kicked off the Knowledge Transfer Initiative with the annual Elder’s retreat, which was held in Manitou Lake in Saskatchewan. Elders reported in discussion that they have observed change in the quality of fish, game and water as effects of climate change over time. There has been extensive industrial activity surrounding the traditional territory of the onihcikiskwapowin over the years. As well, the recent forest fires in the north have resulted in wildlife venturing south. Many reports this summer along have been of increased bear activity, elk, moose and other animals within the reserve and in surrounding areas. Also, elders noted that traditional medicines are also being destroyed by oil activities in the region. This includes in our traditional territories.

Following the early discussions with the Elders and Knowledge Holders, next steps included identifying key figures within the community to help organize and disseminate information. onihcikiskwapowin Knowledge Holders have emphasized that there is a strong need to include the iyiniwak language, protocols, ceremony and traditional practices in the activities of knowledge transfer.

If anyone wants to know more about the work completed and would like for their son or daughter to become involved, please contact me at

Empowering our spirit


This website provides support for all levels within school jurisdictions to increase awareness, understanding and application of First Nations, Métis and Inuit histories, perspectives and ways of knowing for the purpose of implementing treaty and residential schools education and Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action for education.


The resources found on this site were developed by Alberta Regional Professional Development Consortia (ARPDC) as a result of grants from Alberta Education to support implementation.


Learn from our knowledge keepers

Land Based Teachings


Have a close look at the community museum, here you will find photos and teachings.

Knowledge Transfer Tools and Teachings

Hunting Firearms – LAWS of the LAND (Firearms Licencing) VIDEO

Application for a licence under the firearms act (PAL) APPLICATION

Canadian Firearms Program WEBSITE

Mossbag and Swing Teachings by Lana and Darlene

Wahkohtowin: Cree Natural Law


1 Week Cree

Anatomy Cree

Bannock Cree

Breakfast Cree

Break-time Cree

Coffee Cree

Face Cree

4 Gifts of Life

4 Natural Laws

4 Seasons

4 Stages of Life

Medicine Wheel

Months Cree

Smudge Cree

Standard Roman Orthography

Syllabics Cree

Winter Cree

Saddle Lake Cree Nation

Box 100, Saddle Lake, AB


(780) 726-3829

© Saddle Lake Cree Nation| All Rights Reserved