Newbery Lecture: An Indigenous Contribution to the Sustainability of Our Common Habitat

On November 25th a Newbery Lecture was presented by President, Dr. Pierre Zundel and the Indigenous Studies program of the University of Sudbury.  The lecture was entitled, An Indigenous Contribution to the Sustainability of Our Common Habitat.  Speaker Michael Thrasher took us through a riveting explanation of the medicine wheel and how the philosophy of First Nations people can contribute to the sustainability of our planet.  Attendees included alumni, students, staff and friends of the University. 

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 President Pierre Zundel (left) and Elder Michael Thrasher (right)

Biography: Michael Thrasher

Michael Thrasher, a Métis-Cree, was born in Sudbury, and was raised in northern Saskatchewan. His name in Cree is Kawhywaweet and he is of the Turtle Clan and over his extensive career, Michael has consulted, provided training, and has become a nationally recognized Elder and teacher of Anishnaabe First Nations philosophy, traditions and culture and is widely credited for his ability to apply Indigenous Knowledge to contemporary issues.

Learning from prominent Elders at the time, Michael was part of the Indigenous, cultural revitalization and resurgence movement in Canada during the 1970s, which sought to reclaim and to share Indigenous knowledge and to foster healing within First Nations communities across Canada.  He worked at the Nechi Institute on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Education and co-founded Four Skies Training and Development Services Ltd. 

Michael has also made important contributions to the development of the discipline of Indigenous Studies.  He was instrumental in the formation of the Indigenous Studies Ph.D. program at Trent University, where he was the first Elder in Canada to bring Indigenous Knowledge into a formal academic course setting, initiating an entirely unique approach to intercultural/interdisciplinary dialogue and knowledge creation.   Michael continues to contribute to course development in Indigenous Knowledge, teach, and co-supervise Ph.D. Dissertations at a number of universities, including Laurentian.

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