As the oldest and largest Indigenous women’s organization in Canada, the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) is grounded in Indigenous women’s wisdom and knowledge. The voices and teachings from Indigenous women and Elders tell us that gender and sexuality diversity is fluid, and that binaries around gender and sexuality are Western social constructs that did not exist for Indigenous peoples prior to Contact.
ONWA celebrates and recognizes the unique gifts given to us all by Creator and we know that supporting the Two-Spirit community strengthens the values that the Seven Grandfather Teachings have gifted us.
ONWA opposes the transphobic rallies that have occurred this week and have strong concerns for the impact that this rhetoric might have on Two-Spirit peoples. No Indigenous child should be made to feel that who they are is wrong. No Indigenous child should have to feel that they cannot live their lives authentic to who they are. No Indigenous child should have to fear for their safety at home or in school.
Indigenous matriarchal ways of knowing and being tell us that Indigenous children have inherent value, are gifts from Creator, are here for a purpose, and are our future.
All Indigenous children deserve our love, respect, and understanding. We know that for Indigenous children to feel safe, they must not only be accepted, but celebrated and honoured for all the wonderful things that make them who they are.
At ONWA, we welcome all the gifts that Indigenous Two-Spirit children and youth provide to our community. Indigenous children and youth are the center of our community. We must work together and surround them with love and acceptance so that they can be safe, healthy, and well, now and for the future, as we recognize that they are the future leaders and changemakers for the next generations.
When we use the lessons from our teachings to lead with love, we can help to make things safer for Two-Spirit children and youth. This in turn makes it safer for all – our families, communities, and society.