3 years ago, Meryk was just 9 years old and she had a conversation with her mother Myka Burning of Six Nations, about Pride celebrations and the LGBTQ community. She asked if there were Indigenous people that were part of the LGBTQ community. This conversation between a parent and child is what led to a history making moment, the very first Pride celebration to ever happen on a reserve in Canada.
Homophobia in reserve communities is a massive problem. One doesn’t have to dig far to figure out the root cause; the Canadian government and church-run Residential School system. The legacy of trauma, shame and cultural destruction that the Residential School system has caused is immeasurable. Much of the cultural knowledge and teachings about the unique roles of Two Spirit, LGBTQI+ Indigenous people were lost and as a direct result many LGBTQ people leave reserve communities because of intolerance and violence.
I’m not sure if it’s a faux pas to paraphrase yourself from an earlier blog post, but I’m going to do it anyway:
…there is plenty of resilience I personally like to celebrate. The first time a Chief ever acknowledged and addressed Two Spirit people in public was Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs at a Pride Opening in Winnipeg last year. I am aware of many people doing incredibly powerful reclamation work in language and taking up our places and roles in our spiritual spaces. There are amazing Two Spirit musicians, authors and artists contributing to the arts and gaining more visibility (though not without a constant fight). Two Spirit Pow Wows are springing up in Canada and US. People are showing up and bringing the fullness of who they are to Pow Wows with regalia that honours everything beyond the gender binary. There are more people reaching out to LGBTQ2SI+ elders to learn. There are children being raised in families housed in earth moving, hetero-patriarchal shattering love, both on and off reserve.”
In recent years, many Two Spirit, LGBTQI+ people have been finding resiliency and community together in their own ways. Six Nations Pride is one such way we are able to come together and include the greater community in healing and unity.
Now in it’s third year, Six Nations Pride is going strong and returning to it’s original location Veteran’s Park in Oshweken. All are welcome to join us this Saturday, August 12th from 12pm – 4pm for a fun day at the park with food and entertainment!
For more information about Six Nations Pride visit: