Seminar Elders & Knowledge Keepers

Born in the Cree Nation of Saddle Lake in Northern Alberta, Doreen Spence was raised by two Traditional Cree Elders, her grandparents. Their teachings of love, kindness, humanity, language, and ethics shaped her childhood and helped Doreen to become the determined, resilient woman that she would need to be in order to accomplish all that she has accomplished in the years that followed.

In 1959, Doreen became one of the first Indigenous women to obtain a Practical Nursing
Certificate, leading her to a nursing career that spanned over 40 years. Throughout her
career she volunteered in numerous and often challenging initiatives with the police force,
school systems, and hospitals to preserve traditions and ensure a promising future for the

In Calgary, where she still lives, Doreen was instrumental in the development of the then,
Calgary Urban Aboriginal Initiative, a grassroots organization providing a foundation for the city to discuss human rights issues facing the Indigenous community and to investigate possible solutions.

Following in her grandparents’ footsteps, Doreen Spence is an internationally-respected
traditional Cree Elder. Her teachings and traditional healing practice have led her around
the world, where she made making her mark in places like Germany, Austria, Vienna,
Slovakia, Poland, Switzerland, South Africa, Australia, England, the United States: , and
the list of countries continues to grow.

Elder Doreen Spence has also been a strong advocate for human rights. She was invited to
sit as a committee member on the working group that developed the draft United Nations
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The committee met over a twenty-year
period to craft the declaration, eventually leading it to adoption by the United Nations
General Assembly in 2007.

On May 10, 2016, the declaration was officially adopted by Canada. Doreen Spence was
nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the United Nations Declaration of
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Paul Daniels is Iyarhe Nakoda (E-yah-hey Nah-kot-ah) and a member of the Bearspaw (Oh-zin-jah Thee-ha) band within Stoney Nation. He is a father of 2, grandfather of 7 and is sought out as a spiritual leader among the community. He began his Nakoda teachings at a young age and was transferred rights as a holder of the pipe, sun dance, and sweat lodge. His teachings and traditional knowledge comes from his mother who was a traditional midwife that trained him as a midwife. He is knowledgeable on the traditional practices and medicines of the Stoney Nakoda people.

Paul is an active member of the Treaty 7 community and has been involved with the Wisdom Council of Alberta Health Services. He offers his time and knowledge to Braiding the Sweetgrass offered through Hull Child and Family Services. Braiding the Sweetgrass is a program supporting Indigenous families in Calgary to help prevent the transmission of intergenerational trauma to their children and future generations. Participating families are guided on their healing journey through a blending of traditional Indigenous and Western ways of knowing.

Paul sits on the Elders Council of Alberta College of Art and Design and played an important role in the naming of the Indigenous support center. The name, Lodgepole Center, was given by ACAD’s Elder Council to reflect the supportive nature of the lodgepole, traditionally placed at the center of the tipi to carry the weight of the covering. The gathering place facilitates Elder advising and support, traditional ceremonies and workshops, sharing circles and more.

Paul was the Stoney Nakoda Elder and representative for the National Pre-Inquiry to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls of Canada.

His traditional Nakoda name translates to Three White Buffalo Calves Spirit.

Roy Bear Chief is from the Siksika Nation about 90 km east of Calgary. His
education consists of a Nursing Assistant certificate in 1981; a Social Work
diploma from Mount Royal College in 1994; a Bachelor of Social Work from
the University of Calgary in 1999; and a Master of Social Work from the
University of Calgary in 2004.

Roy has worked in Siksika Income Support, Siksika Children’s Services,
Siksika Health’s Services, and Aboriginal Mental Health, various hospitals, a
group home for spinal cord injury, and was elected twice into Siksika
leadership as a member of Chief and Council in 2000-2001 and 2008-2010.
Roy further served as the Tribal Manager for Siksika Nation administration
from 2011-2013.

Roy has life experience as a residential school survivor and has dealt with addictions issues. Roy came out of retirement to assist in the process of getting First Nations, Metis and Inuit people to meet their full potentials to become productive members of society through the Aboriginal Poverty Reduction strategy within the larger Enough For All strategy.

Casey Eagle Speaker is also known by his traditional name “Sorrel Horse” by his people within the Blackfoot Confederation. He is a member of the Blood Tribe in Southern Alberta.

In the Year 2000, Casey was awarded the Chief David Crow Child Award from the City of Calgary for his work in cross-cultural awareness and in addition the Dr. Joseph Crow Shoe Award from the University of Calgary for his work in Aboriginal Education. Casey has received numerous other awards for his work within society.

Casey has served on several boards such as the Native Women’s Shelter, 4 Directions Foster Parents Association, Ghost River Rediscovery, and presently sits on the board of Align, Chair of The Wisdom Council (AHS) and a number of advisory committees.

Casey has been working with Hull Services since 1998, as the Indigenous Resource Coordinator.

Hal Eagletail is a member of the Northern Dene TsuuT’ina Nation. Located in

the Treaty 7 area of southern Alberta. He is the owner of Eaglestar
Enterprises Ltd, a company that specializes in cultural consultant work for all
industries. He is currently under contract with TsuuT’ina Nation and Alberta
Health Services as a Cultural Helper. He helps hospital patients get back to
health with traditional knowledge of herbs and ceremony.

Hal is also a Master of Ceremonies for First Nation pow-wows and Round
Dance celebrations across North America. He also facilitates conferences and

Hal has traveled internationally taking Native dance troupes to help educate and
promote First Nations history and cultural identity. He has traveled to New
Zealand, Switzerland, Germany, France, and England.

In 2007 he was asked by the Alberta Government to represent First Nations of
Alberta at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC on Historical
Evolution of Alberta’s Native Peoples. Humour is one of First Nations best
healing medicines and Hal has no shortage of that to prescribe.

Tina Fox is the Resident Elder/ counselor at Nakoda Elementary School.  She was born and raised in Morley and attended Morley residential School for 10 years. In
her youth, she graduated from the School of Nursing Aides in Calgary, Dec. 3/60
and worked as a CNA (Certified Nursing Aide) for about ten years. Nursing was work Tina found rewarding; it was a  back-breaking job that she really enjoyed.

In 1976, Tina broke cultural barriers and got elected as Morley’s first female band
councilor and served in that capacity off and on for 14 years.  She retired in 2000
and went back to school graduating from Brandon University in May of 2003 with a bachelor degree in First Nations and Aboriginal counseling and got a job with the Stoney Education Authority in the fall of 2003 where she works with Indigenous children and their families.