Cree Elder Yvonne Maurice knows what it’s like to be bullied, to struggle with drinking and to feel alone. Now, she uses her experiences to help teens in northern Saskatchewan. CBC Saskatchewan, CBC Manitoba and CBC North embarked on a months-long project to speak with elders, elders-in-training and youth from across their vast territories to learn how these knowledge keepers view their role today — and why they’re more critical than ever before. “I was getting wood, and at that time, there was no electricity, no running water, no nothing. I put wood in my dress, and I shoved it in the stove and my dress caught on fire,” said the 72-year-old, Cree elder, who lives in Saskatchewan’s north. “I never got a phone call, no visits, no nothing,” she said. “And then when I came home, I started getting teased by kids because of my scars.” A few years later, she married Robert, a trapper from Patuanak, a village that sits on the edge of Lac Île-à-la-Crosse, nearly 200 kilometres north of her home in Pinehouse, a primarily Métis village of around 1,000 about 500 km north of Saskatoon. She spent decades hunting and trapping on the land w...