Indigenous Storyteller, 2022-2024
Indigenous Storyteller Theresa Sims is a traditional Indigenous Knowledge Keeper and Elder. She is from the upper Mohawk, Turtle Clan of the Six Nations Reserve. She has lived in Windsor since 1998, and worked in various capacities such as Elder and Culture and Language Specialist for Ska:na Family Learning Centre. For over twenty years, Sims has fulfilled requests by the public and Catholic school boards to provide opening welcome, stories, songs and dance for children from junior kindergarten to grade twelve. She has opened conferences and presented for the University of Windsor and for the City of Windsor, and often provided a local perspective on Indigenous issues to media including The Windsor Star, CBC Windsor, and CTV Windsor many times over the years. To honour her family history connected to Residential Schools and help provide calm and healing during trying times, Sims recorded and presented a special video of welcome, understanding and reflection for a difficult and complex Canada Day in 2021. As Windsor’s inaugural Indigenous Storyteller, Sims is committed to using her gifts of storytelling, songs, and dance to bring together our entire community while honouring and sharing the cultural traditions of her people, and working closely with Indigenous communities across Windsor and Essex County, and beyond.
“My role is to teach using my gifts, of oral history, songs, and dances," Sims said. "The Three Fires Confederacy of the Odawa, Potawatomi, and the Anishnaabe people have a rich and abundant collection of stories of the elements, land, water, and the animals to teach the Seven Grandfather Teachings of courage, love, truth, wisdom, respect, honesty, and humility, and to entertain and educate along the way. It will be a journey we can take together of Mino Bimaadziwin (The Good Life) of the Anishnaabe culture and way of life."
The selection committee remarked, “Theresa Sims is the epitome of a storyteller. She is an engaging individual, entirely sincere and committed to what she is doing. She speaks in images and metaphors, is knowledgeable in Indigenous oral traditions and histories, and is a respected member of the community. She has the ability to adapt her storytelling for any target audience including children, teens, and adults through various mediums. She shared her extensive knowledge of Windsor-Essex and its important place on Turtle Island. She also shared her personal knowledge of the generational trauma Indigenous peoples face today, as well as her own relationship with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.”
Stories and other items shared during term