Traditional Indigenous Research Knowledge & Cultural Programming

The 2019 World Indigenous Cancer Conference is more than an information sharing event. Traditional Indigenous research knowledge and cultural programming is a key part of our conference. Elder/Knowledge Holders from across Canada and globally are taking a leadership role alongside scientists and researchers to provide a meaningful learning experience for delegates from across the world. A description of planned Traditional Indigenous Research Knowledge & Cultural Programming and special events is found below.

The opening of the World Indigenous Cancer Conference will set the stage for our event that brings together scientists, practitioners, and leaders in cancer-related care and research, as well as community members and Indigenous people impacted by cancer. Beginning with ceremony and a grand entry that invites dignitaries and Indigenous leadership from across the country to join in the procession, signifies the importance of grounding our proceedings over 3 days from within Indigenous knowledge and cultural contexts of Indigenous peoples. Following this there will be welcoming speeches and addresses from our host sponsors and dignitaries. Among these the hope is to include representation from First Nations, Inuit and Métis national organizations as well as representation from Health Canada and the office of the Prime Minister.

The pre-conference is a key part of WICC’s Indigenous knowledge and cultural programming. Delegates from Canada and beyond will be provided with the opportunity to participate in show casing traditional Indigenous knowledge-based research and cultural activities. It is anticipated knowledge exchange and transfer will include traditional knowledge and teaching sessions and ceremony. Taking place on Treaty 7 and Métis Nation Zone 3 territory in the heart of Calgary. First Nations, Inuit and Métis Elder /Knowledge Holders will lead Nation and/or community sessions based on their own cultures. These pre-conference events will ground the conference that follows in Indigenous contexts and provide delegates with a rich experience grounded in Indigenous knowledge, ceremony & culture that touches the human spirit in a way delegates won’t soon forget!

First Nations, Inuit and Métis will demonstrate the resiliency of their peoples through traditional celebrations that include drumming, dancing, and singing. The AFNIGC Gala promises to be a meaningful experience for attendees with inspirational story shared by the Terry Fox Foundation and songs from nationally recognized entertainers Susan Aglukark and Buffy Saint-Marie. During the Gala opening, closing and throughout the evening, First Nations, Inuit and Métis dance and song troupes will make the evening an event that delegates will not want to miss!

Cultural programming for this conference will occur in parallel to the scientific program. Elder/Knowledge Holders will design and carry out their sessions alongside the schedule of speakers presenting in 5 concurrent sessions. Taking place over the 3-day conference program, these sessions will include opportunities for cancer survivors from across the globe to share their stories in the safe space created and provided by a team of Elder/Knowledge Holders.


Elder/Knowledge Holders (15) from across Canada make up the 2019 WICC Traditional Indigenous Research Knowledge and Cultural Programming Committee. Recognizing the opportunity to host the world on a topic of significance for FNIM peoples, the activities planned by this committee during the conference will include dialogue to determine key messages that can be presented at the Post-Conference on September 20, 2019. Spiritual leaders in attendance from other countries will be invited to join in these conversations. Graduate research students in Indigenous health will be on hand to support Elder/Knowledge Holders in determining their themes and priorities for cancer research with Indigenous peoples.