Elder in Residence/Traditional Knowledge Keeper


Queen’s University is the Canadian research intensive university with a transformative student learning experience. Here the employment experience is as diverse as it is interesting. We have opportunities in multiple areas of globally recognized research, faculty administration, engineering & construction, athletics & recreation, power generation, corporate shared services, and many more.

We are committed to employment equity and diversity in the workplace and welcome applications from individuals from equity seeking groups such as women, racialized/visible minorities, Indigenous/Aboriginal peoples, persons with a disability, persons who identify in the LGBTQ+ community and others who reflect the diversity of Canadian society.

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Reporting to the Director, Office of Indigenous Initiatives; the Elder in Residence/Traditional Knowledge Keeper will demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the histories, traditions and cultures of Indigenous peoples, communities, and nations. They are a person who can integrate Indigenous values and principles into all programming, lectures, and advising. They carry their own knowledge, lived experiences and life wisdom while respecting the locations of all students, faculty, and staff. They uphold the integrity of the Office of Indigenous Initiatives and Queen's University, while supporting and advising the institution in ways it can continue to reconcile and Indigenize.

The Elder in Residence/Traditional Knowledge Keeper provides ceremonies and guidance to the Queen’s community regarding decolonization and Indigenization from an Indigenous lens. They assist the Queen’s community in responding to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action by furthering Indigenous knowledge on campus.

This incumbent will enrich all Office of Indigenous Initiatives and Queen’s programs with their life experience, knowledge and ability to affirm Indigenous ethics and teachings. The incumbent will bring Indigenous community engagement into the university in order to strengthen relationships within and between Indigenous communities and Queen’s. The Elder in Residence/Traditional Knowledge Keeper will help to link culture, community and academia; and teaches students, faculty, and staff how to work with community Elders.

This position may require the incumbent to occasionally work flexible hours including evenings and weekends to accommodate events and/or meetings.


  • Provide cultural-based support, advice and assistance for students, staff and faculty.
  • Assist in organizing social and cultural events that bring staff, students, and faculty together.
  • Create, supervise and deliver culturally oriented workshops and courses to students, faculty, and staff.
  • Assist in providing workshops to improve cultural capacity and Indigenous knowledge sharing for students, faculty, and staff.
  • Responsible for conducting interviews and guest lectures.
  • Work with the Office of Indigenous Initiatives staff to assist in the promotion of and awareness building around Indigenous cultural issues within the University.
  • Conduct, provide guidance and supervise ceremonial activities.
  • Assist on advisory groups, as requested.
  • Other projects, as assigned, based on expertise and knowledge base.


  • 3-5 years or more of experience working in an Indigenous community providing Elder or similar traditional services, or equivalent experience.
  • Recognition by Indigenous community as having knowledge and understanding of the traditional culture of community as well as spiritual and social traditions.
  • Knowledge of traditional Indigenous cultures, ceremonial practices, protocols and songs.
  • Cognizant and respectful of the diversity of Indigenous cultures, languages and traditions in the region and beyond.
  • Knowledge of Indigenous traditional healing that may include the use of traditional plants used for healing.
  • Familiarity with an Indigenous language would be considered an asset.
  • Consideration may be given to an equivalent combination of education and experience.


  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrated skills in mentoring and support.
  • Well-developed skills in the preparation of informative and engaging presentations/training and teaching sessions.
  • The ability to prioritize workload and deal with multiple demands.
  • High degree of flexibility and ability to multi-task in a busy environment.
  • Excellent organizational skills and the ability to work independently.
  • Excellent leadership and teaching skills.
  • Excellent attention to detail.
  • Excellent time-management, interpersonal and organizational skills as well as the      capability to take initiative, solve problems and suggest solutions.
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment with regard to the need for supervision and guidance.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with professionals in a team-oriented environment.
  • Understanding of continuum of mental health and relationship to holistic health and academic success of students.


  • Decisions regarding correspondence and recommendations to appropriate university bodies with respect to individual students/clients.
  • Ability to distinguish between circumstances in which decisions can be made independently and those where consultation is needed.
  • Ability to determine the best recommendations to make when approached for advice or resources.
  • Decisions regarding how to go about getting the information necessary to make informed recommendations; exercise judgment on the quality and reliability of information referenced.
  • Decisions regarding the coordination of information, material, facilities, and logistics for programming.


The University invites applications from all qualified individuals. Queen’s is committed to employment equity and diversity in the workplace and welcomes applications from women, visible minorities, Aboriginal Peoples, persons with disabilities, and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity. In accordance with Canadian Immigration requirements, priority will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

The University provides support in its recruitment processes to applicants with disabilities, including accommodation that takes into account an applicant's accessibility needs. Candidates requiring accommodation during the recruitment process are asked to contact Human Resources at hradmin@queensu.ca.