In recognition of PRIDE month and Indigenous People’s History Day in Canada, here are some of the many Two-Spirit and LGBTQ2IA+ authors and poets sharing their stories and art.
Special thanks to Out on the Shelves Library and Xwi7xwa Library for highlighting and making these books available. Both are located on the ancestral, traditional and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations in what is now called Vancouver, BC, Canada. To learn more about these authors, visit their websites and support them by buying their books. To learn more about the Indigenous nations, lands and territories mentioned, visit the interactive map at Native Land.
47,000 Beads by Koja Adeyoha and Angel Adeyoha. Illustrated by Holly McGillis. Flamingo Rampant. Children’s Picture Book.
This beautifully illustrated children’s book is about Peyton, a little Lakota girl that loves to dance. One day her Auntie Eyota notices that she didn’t want to dance at the last pow wow they attended. When Peyton tells her that she doesn’t feel comfortable dancing in a dress anymore, Auntie Eyota calls on understanding and loving family, friends and community members to help. Koja Adeyoha is a Two-Spirit Lakota activist, and this is her first children’s book.
A Canadian literary classic, Champion and Ooneemeetoo Okimasis are born into a beautiful Cree World in northern Manitoba before being taken from their family and community and forced to attend a Catholic residential school. As they fight for their survival, the Fur Queen, the beautiful shape-shifting trickster, watches over their lives. Tomson Highway is a Cree playwright, novelist, pianist and songwriter.
A Two-Spirit Journey by Ma-Nee Chacaby and Mary Louisa Plummer. University of Manitoba Press. Biography.
Ma-Nee Chacaby is an Ojibwe–Cree writer and activist and gives her personal account of her incredible life of enduring and eventually overcoming legacies of colonialism in Canada. Though as a child she learned Cree and Ojibwa spiritual and cultural traditions, as Chacaby grew up, she endured and suffered through racism, abuse and alcoholism. Her perseverance has helped her achieve sobriety, becoming an alcoholism counsellor, mother, foster mother and the leader of the first gay pride in Thunder Bay, Ontario in 2013. Her insightful memoir was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award.
Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead. Arsenal Pulp Press. Fiction.
A debut novel about a Two-Spirit Indigiqueer young man living off-reserve and trying to find ways to live as a self-ordained NDN glitter princess. Jonny suddenly finds that he has one week before he must return to his reserve and face his former life. Full of stories of his beloved Kokum (grandmother) but also love, sex, trauma and community, Jonny pieces the stories together as he begins to piece together the different parts of his life. Joshua Whitehead is an Oji-Cree member of the Peguis First Nation, a poet and novelist. Winner of a Lambda Literary Award and the Georges Bugnet Award for fiction. Read the #GlobalPRIDELitMonth review.
In their groundbreaking memoir, Nixon weaves together stories of community, family, and friendship and queer love and grief, amongst different settings; nations, music scenes and communities. Told in cyclical narratives, and drawing upon their Cree, Saulteaux and Metis perspectives, Nixon illustrates their unique and compelling perspective. Lindsay Nixon is an Indigenous Canadian of Cree, Saulteaux and Métis heritage; a curator, editor, writer and PhD student. Read the #GlobalPRIDELitMonth review. Listen to the playlist inspired by the book.
This award-winning collection of poetry is a memoir, a manifesto and a call to action where Belcourt encourages the reader to embrace love and sex to understand how Indigenous peoples survive amidst pain and suffering while retaining hope for the future. Full of poems that play with genre, form and decolonization. Billy-Ray Belcourt is a Cree writer and academic from the Driftpile Cree Nation.
Guest Editor of #GlobalPRIDELitMonth and Writer: Anita Fata (she, her, hers) is currently pursuing a Master in Libraries and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia’s iSchool. A daughter of European immigrants, she is a first generation Canadian settler, living and working on the ancestral, traditional and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations in what is now called Vancouver, BC, Canada. Fascinated by the pitfalls of cataloguing, she also spends too much time thinking about translated literature and LGBT2QIA+ authors while volunteering at Out on the Shelves Library. Find her on Twitter @anita_if