Kanawemahwasowin Kamik hosted a pride celebration at the Neyaskweyahk Okimaw Kamik in Ermineskin on June 24.
The outdoor event had music, and various speakers, including host Chrystal Littlechild-Hill as the emcee. Other speakers were Elders Larry Listener and Muriel Lee (who said a prayer for the event), Coun. Tyler Makinaw, administrator Geraldine Hill and Joseph Roan.
“We must honour ourselves, and honour the creation’s creation … I am grateful [for] … all the organizers who put effort into this day to honour our brothers and sisters [on] Gay Pride day,” said Muriel Lee.
“We should do everything in our power to honour and show our respect to [them]. They’re our children …knowing they are different and it’s our responsibility to encourage the growth and be accepting of how they were born. If we don’t do that … we’re not doing our job properly.”
Tyler Makinaw gave thanks to all the organizers, the staff of KMK, and commended the way they were able to put in place safety protocols to enable attendees to socially distance, while still having a gathering during the pandemic.
“I would love to see more resources and supports to a community that has been underappreciated … more events, more programs,” for the LGBTQ2S+.
Joseph Roan spoke on his life experiences as LGBTQ2S+.
“I’m 24 years old, I’m from Pigeon Lake, and I identify as an Auntie. *laughter and horns honking*… My Kokum always had my back.”
He recalled learning how to skin a deer, being referred to by different pronouns, and dressing up as a unicorn for Halloween as a youth.
“It’s your story, not theirs … imagine if things were that easy, just bring your man home and call it a day. It would be a normal thing. Coming out is up to you … the notion behind that is just being your authentic self and living openly in the light,” he said.
“I had bullies … I did understand that I was different … Imagine if everybody understood what identifying as different meant, and there wasn’t a barrier of prejudice and misinformation.”
RCMP vehicles were decorated with rainbows and attendees were invited to paint with rainbow colours and leave handprints. The day concluded with lunch and a vehicle parade to Fas Gas.
– Written by Sara Lee for the Ermineskin Cree Nation July 2, 2020 newsletter