Imelda Perley

Imelda Perley (Opolahsomuwehs) is Wolastoqew (Maliseet) from Tobique First Nation, St. Mary’s First Nation and Houlton Band of Maliseets (United States). She has been recently appointed as Elder-in-Residence at the University of New Brunswick. Imelda holds a B.A. and an M.Ed. both from the University of New Brunswick. She is a fluent speaker of Maliseet, her first language. Imelda teaches Maliseet language and Wabanaki Worldview courses at University of New Brunswick and University of Maine. She also co-teaches a Native Studies module at Saint Thomas University. She is founder and coordinator of the Wolastoq Language and Culture Centers Inc., situated at Tobique and St. Mary’s First Nations. The primary purpose of each center is to promote Wolastoq language, culture, traditions, worldviews, and ceremonies. Each center also conducts workshops that provide information pertaining to history, social, economic, political, and cultural conditions of Wolastoq communities. Imelda remains active in promoting cross-cultural awareness sessions within the public domain. Her traditional roles within the community include Sweatlodge Keeper, Medicine Wheel Teacher, Sacred Pipe Carrier, and Keeper of the Women’s Ceremonies (e.g. Puberty, Naming and Fasting). She is a cultural advisor for community organizations, provincial and federal agencies. Her acquisition of traditional knowledge from the Elders and other cultural teachers has prompted her to remain active in environmental and cultural issues.