Elders-in-Residence Program

Elders encourage and promote understanding and respect for Indigenous perspectives, culture, and values.

The Elders' in Residence dedicate the majority of their time supporting and encouraging Aboriginal students and providing a cultural connection to them on their journey.  They are also available to students, their families, and JIBC’s faculty and staff. 

Upcoming Events

 Fall and Spring schedule - see Events for details.

Please email indigenization@jibc.ca if you would like to set up a confidential one-on-one session in the Elders Lounge (Room AD134A by the gym), a classroom visit, or any other appointment.

What is an Elder?

An elder is an older Aboriginal person who adopts the role of a surrogate grandmother or grandfather. Elders possess a wealth of knowledge and life experiences with specific expertise in aboriginal culture that they are eager to share with the younger generations.

Elders’ Role

The Elders will rotate on a monthly basis and be available from two to five days per month as their availability allows.

The Elders-in-Residence activities will include:

  • To provide guidance, cultural and spiritual support to our students, staff and faculty through one-on-one guidance sessions.
  • To share their knowledge and expertise in different areas through cultural teaching activities such as drum making, sweatlodge, talking circles, Elders tea time/luncheons, art, carving, storytelling, crafts, history of Aboriginal people, nature walks, traditional drumming and singing, and other activities.
  • To be available as guest speakers in classrooms, JIBC Speaker Series, National Aboriginal Day and other events.
  • To liaise with the Aboriginal Education Advisory Council as needed.


Elders who are part of the Elders-in-Residence program are listed below.

Phillip Gladue, Métis

Elder Phillip GladuePhillip Gladue is a respected Elder who was raised in the traditional way; he is from Peace River, Alberta. He is proud of the fact that he never lost his language while he was growing up. Phillip is very proud of his Métis-Cree culture and likes to jig, drum and sing traditional songs on his hand drum. He was awarded the Queens Jubilee Medal and has been a candidate for the Vancouver Aboriginal Awards.

Currently, Phillip is busy working with the Abbotsford and Langley School Districts. He has been on many advisory groups and committees and currently sits on the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, Child and Family Services in Langley, and the Forensic Psychiatric Services in Port Coquitlam. He is married to Betty Gladue and is the father of three daughters; he is also a grandfather to one grandson and granddaughter.

Larry Grant, Musqueam First Nation

Larry Grant

Elder Larry Grant is of mixed Chinese and Musqueam ancestry. Born on a hop field as a premature baby in Agassiz, BC, Grant was raised in Musqueam traditional territory. After retiring as a longshoreman, Grant enrolled in the First Nations Language Program at the University of British Columbia (UBC) to reconnect with his mother’s ancestral language, hən’q’əmin’əm’. Through this transformational process Grant achieved his goal of learning how to welcome people to Musqueam territory using the language, discovered his aptitude for sharing stories,  and developed a strong passion for revitalizing hən’q’əmin’əm’. 

Grant was the Elder-in-Residence at the UBC First Nations House of Learning where he welcomed and connected with an array of visitors, students and staff from around the world and played a key role in educating others about the first peoples who lived here. He is also an adjunct professor with the UBC First Nations Language Program, helping to teach the first-year hən’q’əmin’əm’ language course which is held at the Musqueam reserve. Today he serves the Musqueam Nation as the Language and Culture Consultant. He is a former band counsellor, a grandfather, educator and cultural practitioner. 

Ken Pruden

Ken Pruden, Métis

Ken Pruden was born in Tyndall, Manitoba. Ken’s aboriginal background is Métis-English, French and Cree. He is Past Chair Elder for the Vancouver Métis Communication Association and Past Elder for the Vancouver Aboriginal Transformative Justice Circle, Vancouver Friendship Centre. Ken served 26 years in the RCAF throughout Canada and three years at 2(F) Wing, Crostenquin, in Northern France. Ken is currently working on-call in the funeral service industry and on contract for Corrections Services Canada in federal institutions. Ken resides in Aldergrove, B.C. with his wife Sandra, and has two children and seven grandchildren.

Audrey RiversAudrey Rivers, Squamish First Nation

Audrey is a well-known and respected Elder and representative on behalf of the Squamish Nation. She was very active throughout the 2010 Olympics. She has been the Elder Firekeeper for Reconciliation week, Elder Firekeeper for 2010 Torch Relay, Four Host Elder Opening Ceremonies for Paralympics, Squamish Language Elder (ensuring the Squamish language will survive), and Squamish Membership Committee member, just to name a few. Tiyaltelot (her ancestral name) is a great, great, grandmother and believes that education and a good vocation is important to in raising her family. She is a true matriarch for not just her family but for Squamish Nation.

Rosemary Trehearne, Sto:lo First Nation

Rosemary Trehearne

Rosemary Trehearne is from Chilliwack, BC. She began her professional career in
justice, then in Aboriginal issues involving restorative justice, family violence and program development, including several years as President of the Yukon Indian Women's Association and, concurrently, as a member of the Executive of the Native Women's Association of Canada. Ms. Trehearne has well-grounded knowledge and practical experience in Aboriginal issues at the grass roots level. 

Ms. Trehearne holds the position of Board Member with Qwi:qwelstom Sto:lo Nation Justice Program, Sto:lo Community Futures, Elder for Tsow-Tun Le Lum Substance Abuse Treatment Centre and as Urban representative on the Xyolhemeylh (Fraser Valley Aboriginal Children and Family Services Society) Elder Advisory Committee. Rosemary is very passionate about social justice and making a difference for Aboriginal children, families and communities. Rosemary is married and has three children, three step-children, seven grand-children, and two great grand-children. 

Last updated March 17, 2017