The Council of Knowledge Holders is an advisory body to NWMO management. It provides counsel on the application of Indigenous Knowledge in the implementation of Adaptive Phased Management. In addition, the Council of Knowledge Holders provides advice on issues that could enhance the development and maintenance of good relations with Indigenous communities.
The NWMO recognizes that Indigenous Knowledge Holders carry the wisdom that connected their peoples to all creation since the Creator placed them here on Turtle Island. The NWMO also acknowledges that Knowledge Holders possess an understanding of Mother Earth that constitutes traditional science, which enabled their ancestors to live in harmony with nature. The NWMO further respects that Knowledge Holders are the custodians of traditions, customs, and values of their respective societies, and form a link between the past and the future.
There are many teachings of the Indigenous people here on Mother Earth. One of these teachings speaks of the Peoples of Mother Earth and how they have all been given different gifts and tasks to do. The Peoples must work together in balance like the four legs of a table to work effectively here on Earth.
Knowledge Holders have much traditional knowledge to share with others. One of their roles is in aiding in decision-making based on this ancient knowledge. The NWMO has been honoured to have received the counsel of Knowledge Holders over the past several years. It seeks to enhance this relationship of mutual support and respect as it continues to implement its mandate in harmony with the traditional teachings of the Indigenous peoples.
The Council of Knowledge Holders grew from the Elders Forum, a previous advisory group that was in place between 2005 and 2012. Over the course of 2011 and 2012, a new Terms of Reference for the Council of Elders was developed. In July 2012, the NWMO established the Council of Elders in Youth. During a traditional ceremony, former members of the Elders Forum were honoured. They were thanked for their years of advice and thoughtful assistance to the NWMO, and to Indigenous organizations and communities involved in the NWMO’s work. In 2022 the Council of Elders and Youth was named the Council of Knowledge Holders.