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Lunch & Learn: Two-Spirit Reconciliation: Honouring the Truth; Reconciling for the Future

FEBRUARY 22, 2019, Burnaby B.C.


This event is open to all BCIT employees and students. 

Many cultural traditions and practices of the peoples of Turtle Island have often been misrepresented or suppressed. The misrepresentation mainly occurred because the colonizers did not have a context to frame, understand and value these ways and the suppression, primarily, occurred because these ways went against the colonizer’s christian doctrine, a doctrine that righteously justified the subjugation of indigenous bodies and lands and was one of the underlying tenets of the residential/boarding schools and such policies. This especially holds true for Indigenous notions and practices of gender, gender-roles, gender expression, sex and sexuality. This presentation explores these concepts by featuring some of the sociohistorical documentation from a nation-specific standpoint while supplementing these records and narratives with a deconstructed colonial account(s). A brief overview is offered on how this burgeoning body of knowledge is used in the service to (re)claim and restore respect, honor and dignity for today’s Two-Spirit individuals and communities as they navigate and negotiate Aboriginal and LGBTQI+ spaces, places and communities. Finally, a discussion is taken up on the (re)positioning of ‘Two-Spirit’ as this work and discussion(s) significantly differs from that of the (non-Native) LGBTQI+ movement(s) putting forth a critique of the ‘western’ framing of gender, gender-roles, gender expression, sex and sexuality; thus opening up a space that transcends and challenges the binary; thereby, creating a space to dream of a rich, complex and diverse world that acknowledges the ‘other’ while honoring, celebrating and valuing the gifts and medicines the ‘other’ has to offer thus creating a sacred (and safe) place and space that calls everyone home.

Guest Presenter

Harlan Pruden (First Nations Cree Nation/nēhiyaw), whose mother is from the Beaver Lake Reservation and father from the Whitefish Lake Reservation, both located in northeastern Alberta – Treaty 6 territory, works with and for the Two-Spirit community locally, nationally and internationally. Currently, Harlan is a Ph.D. student at UBC and an Educator at Chee Mamuk, an Indigenous public health program at BC Centre for Disease Control. Harlan is also the Managing Editor of the and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Vancouver Public Library and was just appointed as an Advisory Member for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Gender and Health. In August 2014, Harlan was appointed by President Obama to the US Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) where Harlan provided advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary of Health & Human Services and the White House. (In December 2018, Harlan was (happily) fired/dismissed from PACHA by Mr. Trump via Fedex.)

Lunch and ASL interpretation are being provided.

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If there are any additional needs you have in order to attend, and participate in, this event please do not hesitate to contact us.

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BCIT Burnaby, Town Square A/B
3700 Willingdon Avenue
Burnaby B.C. V5G 3H2

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Fri. Feb. 22, 2019 12:00PM to 1:00PM

2019-02-22 12:00:00 2019-02-22 13:00:00 America/Vancouver Lunch & Learn: Two-Spirit Reconciliation: Honouring the Truth; Reconciling for the Future BCIT Burnaby, Town Square A/B BCIT

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