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Our Governance

Delivery Model Diagram


On the following page is a diagram of this delivery service model with a further explanation of how the paths of action will relate to the services offered at Circle of Life Thunderbird House.


Circle of Life Thunderbird House Delivery Model Diagram

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When we at Circle of Life Thunderbird House talk about the “the community,” we are referring to all who live in the area we serve: employed, underemployed, and non-employed; young or old; all cultures and all peoples. The organization of Circle of Life Thunderbird House is responsible to this community and particularly to those in the community that are the keepers of the wisdom of the Aboriginal peoples — the Elders.


In October 2006, the former Board of Directors and its community supporters recognized that Circle of Life Thunderbird House needed to establish a new form of governance that was more in keeping with its mission and original intent. This new governance structure was designed to reflect both Western and Aboriginal values and practices, and the combination has resulted in a revitalized “new” Circle of Life Thunderbird House that is dynamic and well managed yet grounded in the Traditional “Way of Life.”

One of the first tasks undertaken to support the new governance structure was the establishment of the Elder’s Peace Makers/Keepers Council (referred to as “The Council of Elders”).


The Council of Elders


On January 27, 2007, Circle of Life Thunderbird House established the Council of Elders. It consists of many of the original Elders involved in the development of Circle of Life Thunderbird House as well as other Elders from the community.


The role of the Council of Elders is to honor the original intent of this sacred site by ensuring that cultural and spiritual integrity is maintained. The Council guides and directs the Board on all matters related to management, operations, programs, services and activities. It operates under a Traditional model to include Traditional ways and ceremony.


Elders are the guardians of Aboriginal cultures and are critical to leading Circle of Life Thunderbird House toward a culturally appropriate model of organizational governance. For us to be a genuinely Aboriginal organization we must have at our core the teachings of traditional knowledge, and Aboriginal Elders are essential in this process. They hold the knowledge that is essential to design and sustain our organizational governance and practices.


The Council of Elders also provides strategic direction and advice on traditional knowledge and cultural and spiritual values, and will operate as a decision-making council. Through its collective wisdom and knowledge, it will reinforce the vision and mission statement of Circle of Life Thunderbird House and “keep us on our spiritual path.”


The Council of Elders holds the following responsibilities:


  • To provide guidance and advice (wisdom keepers)

  • To be a neutral, nurturing council

  • To be a council for conflict resolution to resolve issues (peace keepers)

  • To develop and maintain an updated Elder’s list (to include Elder’s gifts and contact information)

  • To create and uphold protocols for approaching Elders

  • To teach the community about Traditional culture, while respecting everyone’s ways

  • To engage with youth and community to transfer traditional knowledge

  • To select Board members and to oversee their work.


In Traditional Aboriginal culture, Elders act as the guides for the community. It is the Elders who hold the laws, history and stories that govern the community and are passed down within families. It is the Elders who bring law into the community to rectify any conflict. With many Aboriginal people now living in urban centres, it is more important than ever that Elders are asked to come forward to share their wisdom.


The Elders believe firmly that the solution for issues’ facing our community today is a return to cultural teachings. Instead of feeling shame for being Aboriginal, youth and others must be taught to find a source of pride and strength in their Aboriginal identity. Respect, responsibility, kindness, caring, sharing and truth are the solutions. The Elders believe that the breakdown of Aboriginal societies and the consequent loss of cultural values are at the root of their peoples’ problems. Restoring, renewing and strengthening cultural values are the solutions the Elders put forward — solutions in which they will have an active role at Circle of Life Thunderbird House as the carriers and teachers of those values.


The Board of Directors


On March 2, 2007, an all-new Board of Directors was appointed by the Circle of Life Thunderbird House Council of Elders from a selection of candidates brought forward by members of our community. This new volunteer board has been very active in working to revitalize operations and to establish a daily schedule of hours and activities.


The Board of Directors is responsible for managing the operations of Circle of Life Thunderbird House by ensuring that its policies, goals and objectives are implemented. Each year, the Board is required to hold an annual general membership meeting to report to the community the organization’s goals and accomplishments.


There are presently 7 board members selected to serve multi-year terms. All board members are volunteers. The selection of board members will remain entrusted to the Council of Elders, which will continue to receive nominations and applications from the community.


Circle of Life Thunderbird House

Current Board of Directors


  • Brian McLeod — Co-Chair
  • Andrea Redsky — Co-Chair
  • Robert Wavey — Secretary - Treasurer
  • Betty Edel — Member
  • Cecil Sveinson – Member
  • Justin Courchene – Member
  • Clifford Acoby – Youth Member





Last Updated (Thursday, 24 March 2011 15:31)