Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cat Criger (left)
Cat Criger (left), with student Lindsay Borrows at the 2012 Aboriginal Law Students’ Association Fall Feast

The Faculty of Law's Aboriginal Law Program is pleased to announce an exciting new cultural initiative starting in the 2013-2014 academic year. The Faculty will now have an Elder-in-Residence, Mark "Cat" Criger, who will host monthly cultural teachings called "Cat Chats", and will hold office hours at the Faculty for one-on-one or group student meetings.

In Indigenous cultures, Elders occupy a crucial role in supporting their communities, imparting wisdom, customs, culture, values and lessons through storytelling, sharing, and traditional teachings. Cat has extensive experience working with the University of Toronto community at OISE, UTSC and UTM, through teaching circles, healing circles, sunrise ceremonies, and teachings on "The Seven Grandfathers," among many other events.

The presence of the Elder-in-Residence at the Faculty of Law will help to foster the cultural, emotional and spiritual well-being of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students, staff and Faculty. Having an Elder on-site will give students unique access to personal support.

The Elder-in-Residence Program will commence in September 2013, with the first "Cat Chat" to be held on Thursday, September 26th. Cat's chat schedule and office hours will be featured in the Faculty Events Calendar and through social media for the Aboriginal Law Program. If you have any questions about this initiative, or would like to request an appointment with Cat during his office hours, please contactLisa Del Col, the Aboriginal Law Program Coordinator, at

Cat Criger Biography

Cat Criger is an Aboriginal Elder, Traditional Teacher and Mentor from the First Nations People. He is Cayuga (Guyohkohnyoh), Turtle Clan from the Six Nations Haudenosaunee or People of the Longhouse. Cat has been working as a Traditional Teacher and Healer for more than 20 years in the Native and multi-cultural community in Canada, the USA, England and Wales. He was taught in the old way, working for many years with the guidance of an Aniishnawbe Elder (Zaawawagaabo) and other First Nations Elders in Canada and the USA, and was taught to do traditional ceremonies, teachings, circles, one to one work and to help all people to 'walk in a good way' though life. Presently he holds the position of Traditional Elder for UTSC, UTM, UT Med Sciences, UT Faculty of Law and the Indigenous Education Network at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.  He is a Traditional Teacher at First Nations House U of T, and standing Elder for the Council for Aboriginal Initiatives for the U of T.  He was also a recent recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work in the community speaking to diversity, equity, respect for women, anti-racism and anti-oppression.

In his spare time Cat is a NCCP competitive archery coach, astronomer, artist, hiker, kayaker, participates in extreme sports when possible, is pursuing a degree in photography, volunteers at children's day care and enjoys spending time with his family and kittens.