Prior to settler contact, Indigenous Peoples had diverse interpretations of gender and sexuality across communities. There was a shared understanding that individuals could hold many expressions of gender and Two-Spirit peoples—meaning people who hold both masculine and feminine spirits—were embraced and valued. They held important roles as teachers, knowledge-keepers, healers, herbalists, child minders, spiritual leaders, interpreters, mediators and artists.

The Europeans who arrived, however, were not accepting of gender non-conforming individuals or respectful of Two-Spirit peoples’ contributions to their communities. As part of colonialization, European settlers enforced heteronormative practices on Indigenous Peoples through education, legal and cultural systems.

Two-Spirit individuals have unique interactions and relationships with the systemic contributors to MMIWG outlined through this project. Two-Spirit peoples must be part of the conversation when we talk about MMIWG as the systemic discrimination faced by Indigenous women and girls is also felt by Two-Spirit peoples. Understanding their unique experiences and positioning within society will play an important part in addressing their needs and preventing future violence.

Stand with us. Share the knowledge.

Positive relationships and allyship between non-Indigenous and Indigenous Peoples can exist. The first step to building these relationships is for Canadians to learn about the colonial past and how it influences our society, and help get the message out. Once you have read the reports, we encourage you to share this information with your networks by connecting them to this page.

The truth can be hard to see.
2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals must be considered when we talk about the missing and murdered.

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