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How to Be an Elder

Date & Time
Wednesday, November 3, 2021, 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

We live in a time where we can confuse getting older with being an elder. Climate change is one of the ultimate tests of intergenerational collaborations. Traditional and Indigenous societies often have a special designation for older folks who carry culture, respect ancestors and serve future generations. Three elders from diverse backgrounds across Salmon Nation share how they think about being an elder, who they learned from and how they see the future and their roles in shaping it. Bring your own questions to this deep and essential exploration.

Session Type
Session Tags
Truth & Storytelling, Health & Healing, Cultural Transformation, Indigenous Teaching, Intergenerational Wisdom
Rewatch On Demand


Ruth Adams is a Tsawwassen elder and grassroots activist working on reconciliation in Canada. She is a historian and spiritual guide and advises the legislature for her community which negotiated the first modern treaty in Canada.
Ruth Adams
Peter Plastrik is a serial social innovator, builder of social-impact networks, and author. He co-founded the nonprofit Innovation Network for Communities after working in Michigan as a journalist and gubernatorial appointee for economic development. He has helped to develop dozens of networks, including the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, Ascend at the Aspen Institute, Campaign for Free College Tuition, US Water Alliance, and Salmon Nation. He is coauthor of Banishing Bureaucracy: The Five Strategies for Reinventing Government, Welcome to the Edge of Chaos: Where Change is a Way of Life, Connecting to Change the World: Harnessing the Power of Networks for Social Impact, and Life After Carbon: The Next Global Transformation of Cities.
Pete Plastrik

Moderated By

Donna Morton is an artist, activist and entrepreneur. She is currently an entrepreneur-in-residence building the Salmon Nation Network. She is a co-founder and former CEO of Change Finance, which created the first 100% fossil free and high social justice ETF. Morton is an Ashoka, Ogunte and Unreasonable Fellow and lifelong serial entrepreneur who has landed innovations in finance, economics, clean energy and policy. She has worked on climate justice for over 35 years from Greenpeace to Wall street.
Donna Morton