Meet GBC’s Wisdom and Knowledge Keepers

GBC wisdom and knowledge keeper Ed Sackaney works out of the new Wi Chi Hito Wi space at Casa Loma campus. Photo provided.

GBC wisdom and knowledge keeper Ed Sackaney works out of the new Wi Chi Hito Wi space at Casa Loma campus. Photo provided.

Ed Sackaney and Pauline Shirt

George Brown College has two Knowledge and Wisdom Keepers. Pauline Shirt was hired over 10 years ago for the Aboriginal Student Initiatives at St. James campus. Ed Sackaney has recently been hired to work out of our new student space “Wi Chi Hito Win” at Casa Loma campus in Room 335D.  They are traditional counsellors and mentors to the students. They also spend time one on one with students during sit downs.

They organize cultural and traditional teachings and workshops. The elders also help the faculty members and students understand our cultural traditions and way of life.

Pauline is known as “Nokomis” or “Grandmother” in the Anishnawbe language. Ed is called “Mishomis” or “Grandfather” In the Anishnawbe language.  They are available for class room presentations and opening prayers and smudging ceremonies. It is customary to offer tobacco when you request the Knowledge and Wisdom Keepers’ assistance.

George Brown first hired and provided the services of Knowledge & Wisdom Keepers over 15 years ago.

Pauline Shirt is located at the St. James campus and currently works out of the Aboriginal Student Centre “Sahkitcheway” in room 562D on the fifth floor.  The term “Sahkicheway” means “turning the corner and taking a leap of faith.”  As a continued post-secondary leader, George Brown College recognizes the importance of having the cultural and traditional supports, thus during the spring season of 2014 a second Knowledge & Wisdom Keeper was added at the Casa Loma campus.

Ed Sackaney works out of the “Wi Chi Hito Win” office which was officially opened with a naming ceremony last June 2104.  “Wi Chi Hito Win” means the “helping oneself” or a place of where students, college staff, and community members can “come to seek assistance”.

As the Knowledge & Wisdom Keepers, both Pauline Shirt and Ed Sackaney have earned their respected place in the community through their lifetimes of learning and then living the traditional teachings to their best of their abilities. They are well versed in practicing and leading in ceremonies, using their original language and encouraging the usage of the sacred four medicines.

They also counsel the aboriginal students when the spiritual, cultural, or academic need arises. Students are encouraged through holistic means to seek solutions for themselves, whether they are found using sacred medicines, cultural teachings, healing circles or at the annual college Pow Wow.

Aboriginal students are encouraged to be proud of who they are, knowing they are contributing and are making a difference with their educational achievements. Our aboriginal student centres are a place where culture and education come together.


Meet GBC’s Wisdom and Knowledge Keepers