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Ottawa group launching two spirit inclusion campaign

Two spirit coordinator hopes to provide information and resources

The logo for a new two spirit inclusion campaign from the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity. Credit: Courtesy Chris Chan

A new Ottawa-based campaign aims to help schools, businesses and other organizations be more respectful of two spirit people.

The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) plans to launch its two spirit inclusion campaign on Friday, August 19, during the 2016 Ottawa Pride festival.

The CCGSD’s two spirit coordinator, Kole Peplinskie (who uses the pronoun they), says that because of colonization, which wiped out much indigenous culture, few people are aware of, or take into account, the two spirit identity. “So a lot of the time, two spirit youth especially can feel kind of lost,” they say.

“Our hope is to get the information out there to [various organizations] who may not know what two spirit is,” they say. “And then give them the tools to include two spirit people in their programs, and have that be a part of their everyday work, so that it kind of negates that feeling of not having a place.”

After the launch, any organization that wants to make its programs, processes or space more inclusive of two spirit people will be able to access relevant resources on the CCGSD’s website.

“People can go onto our website, read up a little bit on what two spirit is, where it comes from, and get the basics,” they say. “And then they can access the [CCGSD’s] speaker’s bureau, which is made up of educators who can go into spaces and give workshops or keynotes and make it more personal.”

The campaign launch will feature an outdoor performance by Samantha Metcalfe and Cailyn Degrandpre, the young Inuit throatsingers who famously stole the show when they performed at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s swearing-in ceremony in 2015. This will be followed by a screening of Two Soft Things, Two Hard Things, a 2016 Canadian documentary film about the growing community of queer Inuit people living in Nunavut.