- Territorial acknowledgement: why and how
- Recognize and avoid anti-Indigenous language
- The importance of listening
- A how-to guide for difficult conversations about whiteness
- Additional resources
Allyship for LGBTQI2S+ People
Allyship for Women Living with Disabilities
Glossary & References
Ally Toolkit to Support Diverse Leadership
Territory acknowledgement: why and how
Allison Jones, a librarian working and living on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territory has compiled some resources for those planning to do a land acknowledgement as well as learn its significance.
Recognize and avoid culturally appropriated language
Language plays an important role in our lives. Being inclusive in our use of language may require unlearning language that is considered common-place, but may have negative consequences-for Indigenous women and Two-Spirit Peoples.
Cultural appropriation has been defined as “Taking from a culture that is not one’s own intellectual property, cultural expressions and artifacts, history, and ways of knowledge.” (Lenore Keeshig-Tobias, 1990). In Wikipedia’s definition it includes the understanding that “(cultural) appropriation is a form of colonialism: cultural elements are copied from a minority culture by members of a dominant culture, and these elements are used outside of their original cultural context—sometimes even against the expressly stated wishes of members of the originating culture.”
Remember, it’s not your intention, but your impact on others that matters.
Two Spirited People
Two Spirit is a term developed in 1990, at the Third Annual Inter-tribal Native American, First Nations, Gay and Lesbian American Conference, held in Winnipeg and is a term used exclusively by Indigenous Peoples. According to Chelsea Vowel, Two Spirit is a “pan-Indigenous concept encompassing sexual, gender and/or spiritual identity” ( Vowel, 2016, p.108).
Not all Indigenous people identify with this term. Non-Indigenous people cannot use this term. Today, Indigenous LGBTQ and Two-Spirit are terms chosen by some Indigenous people to describe an aspect of their identity. Two-Spirit places topics relevant to Indigenous gender and sexuality at the center of the discussion. Far too often, they are excluded from LGBTQ+ discourses.
You can support Two-Spirit people by :
The importance of listening
Tenille Campbell, author of #IndianLovePoems, reflects on her experience sharing her work and speaking to non-Indigenous audiences.
“ If you’re non-Indigenous, your job is to be a good ally and sit down. This is not your problem to solve. This is not your space. You need to sit down, listen, and learn.”
Ever since I was in graduate school, I thought I hated giving public talks. But I soon realized it’s not the presentation, but the Q & A that can feel so awful. Academic audiences can be arrogant, hostile, and self-absorbed. 2/
People don’t always bring their best selves to the Q & A—people can act out their own discomfort about the approach or the topic of the talk. We need to do better. I believe in heavily mediated Q & A sessions. 3/
Before I give a talk, I ask my host to please find someone to facilitate the Q & A. It is better for someone who knows the people in the audience to choose who gets to ask questions in public, because they know who is a bully, who to avoid, who will derail a conversation. 4/
The tips in this thread are both what I do after my own talks, and what I do when I am chairing a session. I especially do this for graduate students and early career scholars. 5/
I make it clear that it is the audience’s responsibility to help craft a positive public speaking experience for graduate students and early career scholars. I tell the audience to help keep the good experience going and tell them not to ask violent questions. 6/
Right after I am finished talking or all the panelists have shared their papers, I invite the audience to take 5-10 minutes to talk to each other. After 45-70 minutes of listening, people are bursting to talk, 7/ and taking the time to turn to talk to a neighbor keeps the first question from being from a person who just felt the urgency to talk. Also, I often need a breather and a moment to drink water or even step out to use the washroom. 8/
So, I give the audience 5-10 minutes to talk to a neighbor. I suggest that they use the time to peer review their questions. 9/
a) make sure it is really a question;
c) figure out if the question needs to be posed and answered in front of everyone;
Then, after 5-10 mins, I will sometimes ask for the first question to come from particular people in the room— Indigenous graduate students, etc.
People kind of laugh it off, but once they realize that I am serious--that the expectation is that they are thoughtful about the quality of their question and whether it really needs to be asked--it often helps to make the conversation much more satisfying. 13/
We often treat Q & A as something that is to be endured, and are willing to gamble on it not going well by having very passive facilitation. We can shift how we interact with one another and make it better. Thanks to Daniel Heath Justice @justicedanielh for asking about this! 14/>Top
A how-to guide for difficult conversations about whiteness
This resource is from a recent panel discussion at the University of Manitoba with Dr. Ian Whetter, Dr. Delia Douglas and Dr. Marcia Anderson. Access the full panel discussion.
“What happens out there, happens in here. Indigenous peoples...We are carrying our history and our present with us. And so are you…We are also a site of creation and recreation. We can be a site of interruption.” Dr. Marcia Anderson minute 35:40
The panellists explore the violence of on-going settler colonialism and whiteness in relation to health and well-being in Canada. Dr. Anderson speaks of the myth of “colour-blindness” in Canada -because of Universal Health Care in Canada we treat everyone the same- despite evidence of great disparities in health between white settlers and Indigenous peoples and people of colour. For more on the myth of “colour-blindness,” check out Dr. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva’s book “Racism without Racists Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States” (also available in audiobook format) or this article in The Conversation.
Dr. Anderson’s suggestions for where we go next. She suggests we take a right-based approach that centers the experience of Black Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) learners, faculty and staff in the learning environment. We call on white people to speak back to structures of whiteness and set up peer accountability when attempts to re-centre whiteness occur. We invest in the energy of BIPOC leaders in leading (instead of dealing with structures of whiteness).
A group of my Indigenous colleagues and I put voice to a feeling we've all experienced at multiple points in our journeys, and I wanted to get it down before I lost it. It may have already been defined elsewhere, and it's going to evolve as I explore it - but this is a start. /1
Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit Peoples
This MMIWG2S report is a call to action for all non-Indigenous people to understand the depth, severity, and impact the violence, trauma, and genocide that has happened and continues to happen to Indigenous Peoples across the country.
|Image source: https://www.instagram.com/p/CFJRcufFeqn/|
The text below comes from the Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit Peoples (MMIWG2S) Report reading group. The group is hosted and facilitated by volunteers from * Kind Space, in Ottawa, Ontario.
“We have to start with truth. We all wanted reconciliation when the TRC recommendations came down, and we forgot about the truth. And I think that is the same thing here. We can’t just follow these recommendations, they won’t be impactful. We need to hear them, acknowledge them, and see them as truth. And then implement them into our policies to create changes that are going to affect us in the long-term.”
*Kind Space’s MMIWG2S reading group is hosting ongoing, intentional space for allies to read, process, discuss, plan, and act on the Calls for Justice together. In the space, the facilitators encourage you to feel your feelings in order to move towards meaningful individual and collective action.
“It’s all about building relationships, you know? Our family systems have been fractured, so I got to learn how to build relationships again with my family. Healthy relationships. And, I have to learn how to build relationships with non-Indigenous people…. It’s all about relationships. And so, we heal in our Indigenous community, and then the non-Indigenous community is learning the truth, and then how do we come together? How can we come together in a healthy and safe way to start to build relationships, to start to heal all those lies that all sides have been told about each other? We need to heal [all] of that.”
- Anni P, family member, MMIWG2S Report, Chapter 3, page 222
Podcasts: Stories by Indigenous Women
Which podcasts are you listening to? Are you listening to stories by Indigenous women and Two-Spirit Peoples? If not, you could start with this list of 9 Great Podcasts Hosted by Indigenous Women. The list was compiled by Kelly Boutsalis ( @KellyKaliopi) and published in Flare Magazine. Learn about more great podcasts to add to your repertoire.
Kelly’s article summaries and reviews the following Podcasts:
- Coffee with My Ma
- Missing and Murdered
- Metis in Space
- New Fire
- Secret Life of Canada
- The Henceforward
- This Land
- All My Relations
Indigenous Canada open course
The University of Alberta offers a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) called “Indigenous Canada” which explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. The course provides the context to present-day Indigenous/non-Indigenous relationships. According to the course’s website, the topics covered include:
- The fur trade and other exchange relationships,
- Land claims and environmental impacts,
- Legal systems and rights,
- Political conflicts and alliances,
- Indigenous political activism,
- Contemporary Indigenous life, art and its expressions.
Indigenous Peoples is an overarching term–recognized by the United Nations in the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). In Canada, Indigenous Peoples include First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
Another set of resources on Indigenous health were curated by Ivy Bourgeault in the following twitter thread: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1189290719661514753.html