National Indigenous History Month: Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQ+ People

National Indigenous History Month

"Indigenous women and Two-Spirit people have traditionally been revered as life-givers and caregivers. This is why we say, 'our women and girls are sacred'"--From the National Inquiry's vision statement

This week we celebrate Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQ+ people and their accomplishments, successes, and contributions to our communities. Despite the many injustices and obstacles created by colonialism, Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQ+ people are rising up and reclaiming their place in our communities.

Check out these books to get started:

Autumn Peltier, Water Warrior by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Bridget George

"The seventh generation is creating
A sea of change.

It was a soft voice, at first.
Like a ripple.
But with practice it grew louder.

Indigenous women have always worked tirelessly to protect our water—keeping it pure and clean for the generations to come. Yet there was a time when their voices and teachings were nearly drowned out, leaving entire communities and environments in danger and without clean water.

But then came Grandma Josephine and her great-niece, Autumn Peltier."

Autumn Peltier is an Anishinaabe Indigenous rights advocate, who at the age of 13 spoke at the United Nations General Assembly to denounce the problem of contaminated water in Indigenous communities in Canada and raise awareness among leaders.

Carole Lindstrom is an Anishinaabe/Métis author from Nebraska.

Bridget George is an Anishinaabe author/illustrator from Ontario.

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

"Imagine an America very similar to our own. It's got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream.

There are some differences. This America has been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly everyday, like the ability to make an orb of light appear or travel across the world through rings of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day.

Elatsoe lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect façade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family."

Darcie Little Badger is a queer, Lipan Apache author from Texas.

Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead

"A tour-de-force debut novel about a Two-Spirit Indigiqueer young man and proud NDN glitter princess who must reckon with his past when he returns home to his reserve."

Joshua Whitehead is a two-spirit, Oji-Cree author from Manitoba.

Love After the End edited by Joshua Whitehead (Oji-Cree)

"This exciting and groundbreaking fiction collection showcases a number of new and emerging 2SQ (Two-Spirit and queer) Indigenous writers from across Turtle Island. These visionary authors show how queer Indigenous communities can bloom and thrive through utopian narratives that detail the vivacity and strength of 2SQness throughout its plight in the maw of settler colonialism's histories.

Here, readers will discover bioengineered AI rats, transplanted trees in space, the rise of a 2SQ resistance camp, a primer on how to survive Indigiqueerly, virtual reality applications, mother ships at sea, and the very bending of space-time continuums queered through NDN time. Love after the End demonstrates the imaginatively queer Two-Spirit futurisms we have all been dreaming of since 1492.

Contributors include Nathan Adler, Darcie Little Badger, Gabriel Castilloux Calderon, Adam Garnet Jones, Mari Kurisato, Kai Minosh Pyle, David Alexander Robertson, jaye simpson, and Nazbah Tom."

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline (Métis)

"In a futuristic world ravaged by global warming, people have lost the ability to dream, and the dreamlessness has led to widespread madness. The only people still able to dream are North America's Indigenous people, and it is their marrow that holds the cure for the rest of the world. But getting the marrow, and dreams, means death for the unwilling donors. Driven to flight, a fifteen-year-old and his companions struggle for survival, attempt to reunite with loved ones and take refuge from the "recruiters" who seek them out to bring them to the marrow-stealing "factories.""

National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

It's also important to highlight resources that help us learn and honour Canada's missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQ+ people.

In 2016, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was launched as a key government initiative to end the disproportionally high levels of violence faced by Indigenous women and girls. 

They released their final report, Reclaiming Power and Place, in 2019.

Reclaiming Power and Place

A summary of the report can be found here.

Additional resources, including a Calls for Justice document, can be found here.

Red Deer Public Library has a number of resources available:

Red Dress Day (Honouring MMIWG2S)

List created by RDPL_CTLG

May 5th is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People (MMIWG2S). It is also known as Red Dress Day, during which we wear red or display red clothing to honour and commemorate missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people. Red Dress Day was inspired by Métis artist Jaime Black’s REDress Project installation, in which she hung empty, red dresses to represent the missing and murdered women. Red dresses have become symbolic of the crisis as a result of her installation. This list of books/resources seeks to inform readers about the social, cultural, and political issues that have contributed to the crisis of missing and murdered women, girls, and two-spirit people, but also to recognize the resilience and community of those working for justice.

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Sisters in Spirit

List created by RDPL_AdultFiction

Sisters in Spirit Day on October 4th honours missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people, and shows support for their loved ones.

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