In The Beginning
In our culture, before the Europeans came to North America, “2-Spirit” referred to an ancient teaching. Our Elders tell us of people who were gifted among all beings because
they carried two spirits: those of male and female. It is told that women engaged in tribal warfare and married other women, as there were men who married other men. These individuals were looked upon as a third gender in many cases and in nearly all of our cultures they were honored and revered.
2-Spirit people were often the visionaries, the healers and the medicine people, respected as fundamental components of our ancient culture and societies. This is our guiding force as well as our source of strength. This is the heart of 2-Spirited People of the First Nations.
At our 1992 Annual General Meeting, we adopted the name “2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations” to honor our ancestral past and reclaim our Aboriginal identity. As our 2-Spirited community is unique, so are our issues and our organization. We are members of a group of people whose way of life has been drastically altered by historical circumstance.
Since European colonization, the existence of the Two Spirit community has been systematically denied and culturally alienated from the Aboriginal identity. 2-Spirit members bear witness to this activity in the form of racism, sexism and homophobia in the courts, the streets, the education system, and the media and in other lesbian and gay organizations within the dominant Canadian society.
We see a strong, healthy, and self-determining 2-Spirit community in Ontario where 2-Spirit peoples live with pride in their Indigenous heritages, values and roles in our communities. We see 2-Spirit peoples as continuing to celebrate our strengths and supporting community members to live with physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.
We will continue to nurture and grow within our sacred roles and celebrate our strengths as 2-Spirit peoples to provide physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual advocacy. We support 2-Spirit peoples and First Nations, Métis, and Inuit community members who are at risk of or living with HIV, hepatitis C, and related co-infections; and we will continue to support community members who are facing the effects of historic and ongoing colonial violence so that we may thrive within our communities and nations.