June 16, 2018 7:43 pm
Updated: June 18, 2018 8:36 am

Hundreds celebrate Saskatoon’s first two-spirit powwow at University of Saskatchewan

WATCH ABOVE: Organized by OUTSaskatoon, the city's first public two-spirit powwow took place at the University of Saskatchewan on Saturday.


The Bowl at the University of Saskatchewan was filled with dancers for Saskatoon’s first two-spirit powwow on Saturday afternoon.

The powwow aimed to create a safe space for all people, especially two-spirit people, a term which was coined in Winnipeg in 1990.

READ MORE: Saskatoon Pride Festival the result of decades of activism

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“We made this name ‘two-spirit’ because we were different than the queer community; we were queer and Indigenous. We lived from an Indigenous worldview, which is a spirit-based worldview,” said Marjorie Beaucage, OUTSaskatoon’s two-spirit elder.

“There wasn’t a word in mainstream media, or mainstream LGBTQ language, that acknowledged the historical acceptance of queer Indigenous people in Indigenous communities prior to colonization,” said Jack Saddleback, the cultural coordinator with OUTSaskatoon.

Saddleback is a Cree, transgender, gay man, who identifies as two-spirit.

“I feel it is most definitely time for this conversation to happen,” said Saddleback.

“There is still so much that we need to do. With the high suicide rates of two-spirited individuals, with the high addiction rates, and with the high [rates of] homophobia, transphobia and racism that’s happening within our communities, it just goes to show that this is simply another step in this long journey.”

READ MORE: Saskatoon police to wear golf shirts instead of uniforms in Pride parade

The powwow was organized by OUTSaskatoon as part of Saskatoon’s two-week Pride Festival, which concludes on June 24.

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