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Biography & Autobiography Native Americans

Those Who Know

20th Anniversary Edition

by (author) Dianne Meili

NeWest Press
Initial publish date
May 2012
Native Americans, Cultural Heritage, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2012
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2012
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 15
  • Grade: 10


"The elders in Those Who Know have devoted their lives to preserving the wisdom and spirituality of their ancestors. Despite insult and oppression, they have maintained sometimes forbidden practices for the betterment of not just their people, but all humankind.

First published in 1991, Dianne Meili’s book remains an essential portrait of men and women who have lived on the trapline, in the army, in a camp on the move, in jail, in residential schools, and on the reserve, all the while counselling, praying, fasting, healing, and helping to birth further generations.

In this 20th anniversary edition of Those Who Know, Meili supplements her original text with new profiles and interviews that further the collective story of these elders as they guide us to a necessary future, one that values Mother Earth and the importance of community above all else."

About the author

Dianne Meili, the great-granddaughter of well-known Cree elder Victoria Callihoo, was born in Calgary in 1957. After studying journalism at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, she worked as a newspaper reporter, public relations officer and was the editor of Windspeaker—Alberta’s bi-weekly Native newspaper—for two years. It was during her time at Windspeaker that she became aware of the need for a book that would preserve the thoughts and experiences of Alberta’s native elders. She spent eighteen months travelling throughout Alberta interviewing elders from many different tribes. Dianne currently lives in Stony Plain.

Dianne Meili's profile page


  • Winner, Trade Non-Fiction Book Award at the Alberta Book Publishing Awards

Librarian Reviews

Those Who Know: Profiles of Alberta’s Native Elders

Thirty-one interviews with Aboriginal elders reveal words of wisdom and historical insights that only those who have lived the old ways know. Representing nine different Aboriginal groups, each elder reveals the challenges and hardships of being trapped between a traditional lifestyle and life on the reserve. Compassion and concern for their people, the environment, non-Aboriginal relations and hope for mending future relations, are expressed by the elders. Formerly hunters and trappers, now spiritual advisors, healers and community leaders, they reveal their stories of survival, including growing up on the trap-line and overcoming the loss of culture from growing up in residential schools. Encouraging Aboriginal people to reconnect with their spiritual roots, advice is given on dealing with addictions, disconnection from their culture, and restoring the sacred balance of nature.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2009-2010.