Resistance and Resilience through Culture: Building a Two-Spirit Longhouse

* This presentation was originally recorded in English, with certain parts in French. Closed captioning is available in both English and French.

CBRC’s path toward Truth and Reconciliation has included a series of commitments and actions, starting in 2016 with an intentional approach to creating space at the Summit for Two-Spirit and Indigenous queer and trans peoples. The organization continues its journey with the more recent hiring of a Two-Spirit Program Manager and the launch of an Oral Histories project. This panel includes some of the Elders and other leaders, both Indigenous and settlers who have been transforming CBRC’s work to be more inclusive of and responsive to, Indigenous communities. Panelists will give updates on the organization’s progress toward building a Two-Spirit Longhouse, an exciting new Oral Histories project, HIV testing options for Indigenous peoples in BC, and the endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). This panel will be filmed on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically on Penelekut Island, in the Salish Sea.

William White, Xelimulh & Kasalid, Coast Salish, has worked with traditionally-trained Sulsalewh/Elders since the 70’s and has learned that the Coast Salish peoples belong to “a living culture.” He has been involved in cross-cultural training at SFU, St. Michaels University School in Victoria, CBRC, and Health Equity Collaborative. As a Board Member for the Ninogaad Knowledge Keepers Foundation, William published “The Teachings of Chief Kwaxsistala, Adam Dick and the Atla’gima (Spirits of the Forests) Dance” in Plants People and Places (2020) with Kim Recalma-Clutesi and Doug Doer, edited by N.J. Turner. William is also a part of Chief M. Wyse of Snuneymuxw Elders’ Advisory Council and and Advisor for Kwumet Lelum Children’s agency, a new Tribal School called Kwam Kwam Stuwixwulth (Strong Children) Snuneymuxw to assist with applying traditional knowledge called Sinyews, intended to maintain, balance, healing and belonging.

Florence James is a Coast Salish Elder from the Penelakut Tribe. Florence was born and raised on the Gulf Islands, Galiano and Penelakut Island, the traditional territory of Puneluxutth’. She is one of the Elders in Residence at Vancouver Island University. Florence also teaches the Hul'q'umi'num Language, and is the elder for many child and family programs. For the past four years, Florence has worked alongside her son Rocky to open the Summit with an Indigenous ceremony and opening plenary to help guide CBRC in its path towards Truth & Reconciliation.

Rocky James is from the Penelakut Tribes. The Penelakut Tribes are located on northern Galiano Island, Penelakut Island, Tent Island, and has a reserve located on Vancouver Island near Crofton. The Penelakut Tribes are part of the Coast Salish Nation. Rocky has a Bachelor of Arts in First Nations Studies, and a Master of Arts in Human and Social Development – Studies in Policy and Practice.

Rocky is the Coast Salish Two-Spirit Emissary for CBRC. Work involves localizing the calls to action from the Canada Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Calls to Justice from the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Rocky is also facilitating an oral histories project with Two-Spirit elders. The project serves as the traditional Indigenous foundation for constructing the CBRC Two-Spirit Longhouse. A forum for Two-Spirit people to discuss issues relating to their well-being and development.

Jessy Dame is a very proud Two-Spirit Métis Certified Registered Nurse within Vancouver Coastal Health. He has worked within neonatal care, perinatal care, remote practice within Indigenous communities, and within a queer focused sexual health clinic downtown Vancouver. He currently works with CBRC as the Two-Spirit Program Manager and is in the process of completing his Master of Nursing with a focus on self-identified men who have sex with men and sexual health.

Jody Jollimore is the Executive Director of Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC) and is based in Vancouver, BC. He and the CBRC team lead national queer health projects including the annual Summit and Sex Now survey, as well as community health leadership programs and network building initiatives that aim to strengthen capacity in our communities to achieve structural change. Jody is the Principal Knowledge User on the national Engage study, and is a co-investigator or knowledge user on several CIHR-funded implementation science grants focused on queer men’s health in Canada. Jody combines a passion for policy, politics, and public health to improve health and social outcomes for queer and trans communities.

Disponible en français.


About CBRC

Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC) promotes the health of people of diverse sexualities and genders through research and intervention development.
Resistance and Resilience through Culture: Building a Two-Spirit Longhouse
Resistance and Resilience through Culture: Building a Two-Spirit Longhouse
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