Wisdom of Elders

Photo of Elder Vern (above) by Matthew Wiley

In most traditional cultures, “an elder is one acknowledged for not only being older but has also reached a state of maturity and wisdom…the old and the elder are the most revered members of the community and are its greatest preservers and nurturers.” -Malidoma Somé

In July 2007, Nelson Mandela brought together a group of independent leaders and introduced them by saying “… with their experience, and their profound commitment to building a better world- let us call them global Elders. They support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict and inspire hope where there is despair." -www.theelders.org

“It takes a person of great heart to see...the wisdom elders have to offer, and so serve them out of gratitude for the life they have passed on to us." - Kent Nerburn

Wisdom of Elders

What We Do
This initiative provides a forum for elders to share practical knowledge and wisdom for the betterment of humanity, our planet, and all of creation.

Living Ways Foundation (LWF) defines elders as those who carry deep wisdom and practical knowledge for the betterment of individuals, communities, and the world. Wisdom is defined as the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment, together with an ability to discern inner qualities and relationships. Although age and experience usually adds to ones capacity for eldership, ‘elder’ does not necessarily mean older. We value the wisdom of all people regardless of ethnicity, age, and social status. The goals and purpose of this program are to seek out this wisdom and provide channels through which it can be shared, valued, and practiced in daily life.


  • Create a Legacy Platform for archiving and sharing wisdom, comprising digital and print media. This may include videos and transcripts of teachings and events; ancestral stories; biographies; and links to related sites.
  • Organize and host events and speaking tours with selected local, national, and international elders to share their wisdom.
  • Establish communications, share resources and host events with allied educational organizations and experts including researchers, librarians and archivists who have compatible interests in the Wisdom of Elders program
  • Develop relationships and partnerships to support Canadian First Nations to preserve and share their ancestral wisdom.

How You Can Help

This project supports hosting and documentation of elders stories and messages. Living Ways is keen to share respected elders’ messages and resources on its website enabling access to all. Your donations support our efforts to enable elders to share their wisdom. Donate Now

At Living Ways, we require volunteers for a range of activities, from working on our key projects, to helping with administrative work or our promotional and digital efforts. We encourage diversity among our volunteers, and recruit prospective volunteers from a broad range of abilities and backgrounds. Volunteer Here

Legacy of Elders

Elders possess a valuable contribution and represent a vast store of wisdom that can guide us in transforming our lives, our communities and the planet.

Living Ways aims to increase awareness of the powerful role of elders, as well as disseminating their messages and supporting the concept of eldership for children, youth and adults.

Living Ways acknowledges and champions the profound gifts of elders for the betterment of our society. We are developing a variety of projects to share their wisdom and guidance for us all.

The first elder we are featuring on this platform is Elder Vern Harper, Chapon Asin (Great Grandfather Stone), Cree (June 17, 1936 - May 12, 2018). It is an honour and privilege to feature this spiritual elder and share some of his messages recorded before his passing. Living Ways had the privilege of videotaping Elder Vern (Videographer, Wendy Rowland). Living Ways is grateful and delighted to have these videos available to the public.

For more information on Elder Vern please click on the following link.



2429 County Road 25 Castleton
Ontario, K0K 1M0

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