As June comes to an end I wanted to take some time to celebrate June being both Pride Month and National Aboriginal History Month in Canada. To do this I am sharing 3 inspiring Indigenous two-spirit leaders doing amazing things in their communities.
Albert McLeod is of First Nations ancestry from the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation and the Metis community of Norway House in northern Manitoba. McLeod has worked for over 30 years educating others about Indigenous culture, and two-spirit people. McLeod also runs workshops teaching others about Indigenous textile art.
As a Co-Director of Two-Spirited People of Manitoba, McLeod has had a huge impact on the LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit community. Albert has also worked with and for the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, along with a number of other influential and impactful organizations in the Winnipeg area. McLeod continues to be a leader in the Two-Spirit community, mentoring youth, and educating a wide variety of audiences.
Learn more about Albert McLeod and his work here:
Kiley May is a Hotinonshón:ni Mohawk and Cayuga from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory (aka “the rez”) who is currently settled in the gathering place called Tkaronto or “Toronto”. May is a two spirit individual who also identifies as trans, queer and genderqueer. Their pronouns are she/her and they/their/them, as she sees her gender as something that is fluid.
May is an actor, model, photographer, educator, writer, and leader in the Two-Spirit community. She is also the creator of Homo Noeticus, a film made in 2012 with support from the Queer Video Mentorship Project. She performed in The Hours That Remain by Keith Barker, at The Box Studio in Toronto, and has worked with The Centre for Indigenous Theatre. As May continues to work as both an actor and model, she is providing much needed visibility to the young Two-Spirit community. They are an incredibly creative person, and I can’t wait to see what they do next!
May is also being honoured this year as the 2017 Youth Ambassador for Pride Toronto.
Learn more about Kiley May and their work here:
Ma-Nee Chacaby is an Ojibwa-Cree Elder who was raised in a remote Ojibwa community near Lake Nipigon, Ontario. She is lesbian and Two-Spirit woman, who has bravely chosen to tell her life story in her book: A Two-Spirit Journey - The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder.
She was a finalist for the Publishing Triangle Awards, in the Trans and Gender-Variant Literature section in 2016, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards, in the Lesbian Memoir/Biography section in 2016, and in 2017, she was a nominee for the Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher, at the Manitoba Book Awards.
Chacaby uses her storytelling as a way to uplift the Two-Spirit community, and gives a face to this often neglected identity. Notably, in 2013, Chacaby led Thunder Bay’s first gay pride parade. Chacaby continues to be a leader in the Two-Spirit community, and encourages other Two-Spirit people to write down and share their stories.
Learn more about Ma-Nee and her work here:
Sign up to get an email notification when I upload a new blog post here.