In 2016, CBRC endorsed the Canada Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action at our annual Summit. Endorsement involved changing the way that the CBRC community recognizes Two-Spirit community members and centres their voices. Recognition would no longer be limited to participation as spectators. Instead, Two-Spirit people would become fully integrated into the culture of the organization and the delivery of our programs.
The following year, CBRC hosted a unique Two-Spirit Rites of Passage ceremony, intended to offer non-Indigenous Summit participants a traditional Indigenous worldview of how to foster community wellbeing. The ceremony was led by Coast Salish Elders Florence James, from the Penelakut Tribes, and Bill White, from the Snu’ney’muxhw First Nation.
As part of his on-going work with CBRC, Rocky James, Coast Salish Emissary for the organization authored a summary of CBRC’s Truth and Reconciliation process between 2016 and 2019. The summary focuses on decolonizing our annual event, Summit (formerly the Summit for Gay Men’s Health), and how we used the event to build relationships with Coast Salish Elders and other Two-Spirit community members.
CBRC recognizes that reconciliation requires more than an endorsement. Instead, an organization must do the work to learn from Indigenous partners and to participate actively in decolonization. That is what we describe as our path or journey of Truth and Reconciliation.
These foundational reports offer a way forward, providing examples of concrete actions and social policies that can be undertaken in order to achieve true reconciliation. CBRC is committed to localizing these recommendations and calls to action and justice, so that we can do our part as a community organization dedicated to Two-Spirit, queer, and trans health.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
Established with the purpose of documenting the history and lasting impacts of the Canadian Indian Residential School System on Indigenous peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released a series of 94 calls to action in 2015 to address reconciliation between Canadians and Indigenous peoples. There are 7 specific Calls to Action regarding Indigenous health and wellbeing.
National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
A national crisis, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) epidemic has been called an act of genocide. This National Inquiry produced a final report in 2019 that made significant calls to action for all Canadians, including speaking out against violence the impacts 2SLGBTQQIA people.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Adopted by the General Assembly in 2007, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is the most comprehensive international resolution on the rights of the world’s Indigenous people, providing a global framework that enshrines their survival, dignity and wellbeing. In 2019 UNDRIP was unanimously adopted by the BC provincial government.
CBRC has worked to centre Indigenous voices at the Summit, the CBRC's annual knowledge exchange and capacity building conference on GBT2Q health.
The 2021 Summit will kick off with a Two-Spirit Summit Day on Wednesday, October 27. The day begins with a Truth and Reconciliation plenary panel which will provide an update on CBRC’s ongoing work to be more inclusive of and responsive to Indigenous communities. Through this year’s Elder and Knowledge Keeper panel, we acknowledge the many regions that CBRC reaches and bring awareness to some current work being done in the community. We will also hear from ur keynote speakers Jack Saddleback (Mamiskow: Finding a Way for Two-Spirit Resiliency) and jaye simpson (Let Me Speak: Providing Safe LGBTQ2+ Resources for Youth in and from Care). Once the morning sessions are completed, we will host a virtual Two-Spirit Gathering, which is “invitation only” — meaning that it is a space specifically for Two-Spirit and queer and trans Indigenous folks. Our goal of the gathering is to provide an update on current Two-Spirit work throughout Turtle Island and collectively create Two-Spirit recommendations that may help guide further Two-Spirit resurgence. Through this collective effort, we will then be able to create community shareables that will be given back to the Two-Spirit community after the event.
You can also view previous Summit videos, which explore Two-Spirit and Indigenous queer and trans health and wellbeing.
Panel: Promoting Two-Spirit Health and Wellbeing: A Conversation with Two-Spirit Youth Leaders
Featuring Tunchai Redvers and Marie Laing in conversation with Jeffrey Ansloos
Summit 2020 Opening: Resistance and Resilience through Culture: Building a Two-Spirit Longhouse
Presented by William White, Florence James, Rocky James, Jessy Dame
Keynote: Two-Spirit Rites of Passage
Presented by Dr. James Makokis
Summit 2019: Truth and Reconciliation
Presented by Florence James and Rocky James
Two-Spirit Reconciliation: Honouring the Truth; Reconciling for the Future
Presented by Harlan Pruden and Bear Smith
Reconciling Access to Traditional and other forms of Healthcare for Indigenous 2S/GBQ People
Presented by Harlan Pruden and Ryan Stillwagon
Summit 2017: Welcome and Rites of Passage
Presented by Florence James, William White, Rocky James
Summit 2016 Opening: Truth and Reconciliation
Presented by Florence James, Rocky James, Kevin Barlow, Keane Tate
For Summit 2020, we sought GBT2Q artists and social media content creators to attend Summit and create a piece of content inspired by the session(s) they attended and what they’ve learned. You can see HERE the amazing work of:
- Ladonna Cree (She/Her), a proud 2spirited Cree from Treaty 6 Montreal Lake First Nations in Saskatchewan.
- Geordy Marshall, a Mi’kmaq community leader in Eskasoni.
- Gabe Calderon (they/them), nihz-manidowag (2 spirit) Anishnaabe, L'nu and mixed white (French and Scottish).