I remind myself of the importance of community and connection that was once deeply rooted in our culture. To give someone our full attention is to love - because Love & Attention mean the same thing.
It was amazing to listen to my friends laugh and joke around in te reo Māori (the Māori language) and never apologizing if I didn’t know what they were saying. It made me want to learn my Dene language.
A lot of us went in not knowing what we were doing and there was no judgement from the experienced competitors, and coaches. Instead we were given huge amounts of encouragement and tips on what would give us the most success in each event. They are what really made this event such a success.
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.
We began by recording the traditional place name, which I learned and will forever refer to the place as, which is “Tr’inalaii.” We then recorded the story of where Tr’inalaii began and the importance it held in her life.
It’s a beautiful feeling when you see your own people succeeding, sharing that light and love with everyone and knowing you aren’t alone in your struggles.
You are born of men and women who have been utilizing plant medicines for many generations. Your blood and your body remembers; your body speaks the same language as these medicines.
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.
My sister and I were once in the Child Welfare System so the death of Tina Fontaine struck me personally. If it wasn’t for my mother choosing to change her life around by becoming sober, the system could have likely failed us too.