Raising a child off-reserve, I often think about how she is going to walk through this world. Don’t get me wrong – all of what is currently known as Canada is Indigenous land. Growing up Urban will not and does not make her less Indian. I’m raising a Dene warrior, no matter if she walks on cement or grass.
The idea that a trans woman’s body or transitioning is a sovereign act may seem odd to people, but it’s rejecting a colonial violence against us (forcing us into Western gender systems) and reclaiming our inherent femininity inside culture. It’s about connecting our sexualities to our land-seeing our pleasure as also sovereign. Our bodies, our right to be loved, to feel good.
I remembered that I come from people who are storytellers. Artists. Lovers. Foolish friends and mischievous family. We are drenched in the survival and reclamation of generations past, and by our very act of breathing, laughing, loving - we are claiming our rightful space for our descendants. We are here.
Unlike most other travellers I met, I was Indigenous, and although not Indigenous to the lands I was trekking, I could identify and relate my Indigeneity to the contexts I found myself in. These countries I visited all have long and complex histories of colonial rule, war, and trauma, which I was able to connect to and empathize with due to similar colonial history and traumas within my blood and ancestral land.