Two-Spirit Program


Working collaboratively and meaningfully with Indigenous partners, leaders, and Elders, CBRC is supporting the development of Two-Spirit-led programs and initiatives that enhance the health and wellbeing of Canada’s Two-Spirit and Indigenous queer and trans communities. This programming includes culturally appropriate and relevant data collection and research, as well as Two-Spirit and Indigenous-led knowledge exchange and resource development.

Medicine_Bundle_2022Thumbnail-01.pngClick here to learn about the Medicine Bundle

Here’s a list of projects we’re currently working on:

Disponible en français.

Through the collective work of Indigenous partners, leaders, Knowledge Keepers, Community members and Elders, CBRC has been able to co-create a number of health and healing initiatives. These Two-Spirit, queer and trans Indigenous led programs were created by and for the communities which we are a part of. The primary goal of any program that is created in partnership with CBRC is to ensure that the needs of the community are centered and driving the developments or changes within each program. As Two-Spirit, queer and trans Indigenous health needs change, so do these programs. Through continuous community involvement and consultation we have been able to launch a number of resources and a sexual health testing pilot. Check them out:

CBRC has worked to centre Indigenous voices at the Summit, CBRC’s annual knowledge exchange and capacity-building conference on queer and trans health.

In 2020, we also committed to creating a Two-Spirit Symposium to kick-off the conference. The Symposium has become a central part of Summit’s programming and made exclusively for Two-Spirit and queer and trans Indigenous folks. The goal of the two-day gathering is to provide an update on Two-Spirit work throughout Turtle Island and collectively create recommendations that may help guide further Two-Spirit resurgence.

Below you can view some previous Summit videos, which explore Two-Spirit and Indigenous queer and trans health and wellbeing.

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).

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.

For more information about the team leading CBRC’s Two-Spirit Program activities, click here. You can also contact Jessy Dame, Director, Two-Spirit Health at [email protected].

Two-Spirit Program Community-Based Research Centre
Two-Spirit Program
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