The benefit of the National Gathering of Elders to the thousands of elders in attendance coming from all across the country is better experienced than in written form. Visualize 3,000 – 4,000 elders or more from all across Canada coming together to experience this great historic event where people can listen, assist, watch, and learn. Although the registration fees the elders pay is only a fraction of the actual cost of the gathering, with the minimal income the elders have at their disposal, it is the goal of the core committee to find sustainable funding partners to allow the committee to invite the elders from across the land at as little cost as possible to attend the gatherings.
For some of the elders, the gathering could be the last journey they may be physically able to take as many are well along in years. It is so important that they share the stories they have in their hearts and minds with memories going back through experiences they gained from early childhood to the stories told to them by their ancestors through their parents and grandparents who have long since passed over.
The strength and determination the elders provide to each other through sharing with each other at the gathering is so helpful in the healing process that needs to take place as a result of the tremendous hardship put on them and their families during the residential school period. The elders understand the work that needs to be done for the safety, security, health and wellbeing of their communities and all future generations. The elders gathering shows everyone who attends that by supporting each other and all people, Mother earth and all that she provides, the future through respect and understanding will be a better place for all of us.
It is hard to describe in words, the importance and benefits that our Sponsor Partners bring to the Elders Gathering. The commitment of funds and support provided to the Gathering from our Sponsor Partners, allow all of us with the opportunity to climb into one canoe together, paddle in one direction, each of us with the same size paddle, united as one shoulder to shoulder pulling in unity to build a better future for all people. Without the help of what our sponsor partners bring to the table, none of this would be possible. The elders are so grateful and so appreciative to those who stand by their side in working together to achieve the work that needs to be done.