Celebrating Pride 2021 at RRC Polytech
A week of live events and self-guided resources that explore LGBTQ2+ inclusion and the Two-Spirit experience.
We are excited to offer a week of opportunities for us to gather as a community, create safer spaces and learn together.
June is Pride Month and National Indigenous History Month, and at the College we have very strong Indigenous supports as well as powerful commitments through diversity and inclusion for LGBTQ2+. However, we witnessed the opportunity for education, enlightenment, and further inclusion for Two-Spirit persons. During Pride 2021 we have decided to highlight Two-Spirit identity, and provide opportunities for knowledge sharing and the creation of safe(r) spaces as we work towards enhancing inclusion and equity at the College.
The week features three live virtual opportunities as well as self-guided films and resources for you to take in. The live events will provide opportunities for you to engage in the conversation, share in our Healing Lodge, and hear lived experiences with special guests that will help us learn more about the meaning of Two-Spirit — from pre-colonization to the present. Live events will be held by either WebEx or Microsoft teams.
As you participate in this week’s events strong emotions may arise. Be sure to take breaks and practice good self-care. To assist you in this we invited Adriene Shum to record a guided video meditation on the theme of acceptance. Watch the recording here>
Pride Week Schedule
Monday, June 7 – Live and Self-Guided
Self-Guided: The week begins with RRC Polytech’s Pride flag raising ceremonies with Fred Meier, President and CEO, and Dr. Christine Watson, Vice-President, Academic and Research.
Live: Be Yourself Reading
Join us for a live reading of “Be Yourself” written and presented by Jackie Swirsky. Jackie is a mother who desired to create a safer, more inclusive and respectful place for all gender creative kids. Her children’s book was the winner of 2016 Silver Nautilus Book Award.
Tuesday, June 8 – Live
Live: Two-Spirit Healing Lodge with guest Elder Gayle Pruden
12–1 pm via Microsoft Teams
Join us as Elder Gayle Pruden leads a healing lodge ceremony where we will highlight videos on two-spirit identity and have an opportunity to share, heal and learn.
Elder Gayle is a Two-Spirit Anishinaabe dancer, knowledge keeper originally from Pinaymootang First Nation. Pruden embraces both male and female spirits, an identity her community and family have always accepted and supported. Learn more about her story here >
Download Microsoft Teams to your computer or mobile device to join. Contact Stephanie for support accessing this event or if you have questions.
Wednesday, June 9 – Self-Guided
Self-Guided: Two Spirit Identity
Broaden your understanding of the Two-Spirit identity through these personal stories from the National Film Board of Canada.
- First Stories – Two Spirited by Sharon A. Desjarlais – National Film Board of Canada
Four youth travel Bebamikawe Trail on Wiikwemkoong Unceded First Nation Territory. Two of the youths are Two Spirit and discuss the confrontations and acceptance that they have encountered within their community and how it has affected their ability to experience and learn their culture.
- Second Stories – Deb-we-win Ge-ken-am-aan, Our Place in the Circle
Lorne Olson’s short documentary presents a vision he had of two-spirit people dancing, laughing and smiling. His vision spurs him to rediscover the strength of the past to better face the challenges of today. This funny and buoyant film documents his touching journey.
- Niish Manidoowag (Two-Spirited Beings) by Debbie S. Mishibinijima – National Film Board of Canada
This short documentary presents the empowering story of Rodney “Geeyo” Poucette’s struggle against prejudice in the Indigenous community as a Two-Spirit person.
Thursday, June 10 – Live
Live: Panel Event: Healing and Reclaiming Two-Spirit Identity
- Lorne Olson, Filmmaker
- Levi Alizaar Foy (Manidoo-gwiiwizens), Executive Director, Sunshine House
- Barbara Bruce, O.M., President, All My Relations Inc; Associate of AMR Planning & Consulting
- Dr. Myra Laramee, Indigenous Elder
- Dr. Elaine Mordoch
- Moderated by Bradley C West. CPHR. SHRM-SCP. CCP.PMC (name as pronoun)
Prior to colonization, First Nation’s peoples did not try to fit their societies into binaries of male and female for gender nor for sexuality. Those peoples who did not fit into these roles were given room to live, express themselves, and contribute to the community in a good way. Two-Spirit people were celebrated and given important responsibilities such as teaching, healing, and leading.
Dr. Elaine Mordoch will present research findings on behalf of their research team to lead us into the panel discussion. Then, our panelists we will go on to unpack the Two-Spirit identity prior to contact, discuss how colonization has impacted Two-Spirit ways of being in today’s culture and we will then discuss how these communities are reclaiming culture and space today. There will be an opportunity for you to ask panelists a question.
Once in the event landing page, please click on the register button as shown below to sign up for this event. After registration, you will receive a calendar invite to add to your schedule, with a link to join the meeting on June 10th.
This panel is presented in partnership with the RRC Polytech Students Association.
Learn more about our panelists:
Lorne Olson, Filmmaker
Lorne Olson is an award-winning filmmaker from Brokenhead Ojibway Nation and currently lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. First and foremost a visual artist, Lorne extended his creative forces into producing, writing and directing film. He is also well studied in journalism and medical research. His work is focused in the Two-Spirit perspective and continues that endeavor through public speaking and film presentations.
Levi Alizaar Foy (Manidoo-gwiiwizens), Executive Director, Sunshine House
Levi Alizaar Foy (Manidoo-gwiiwizens) is the Executive Director at Sunshine House, which is a community drop-in and resource centre located at the intersection of Sherbrook and Logan. Levi, who is a member of Couchiching First Nation with roots in southwestern Manitoba, learned much of his community organizing from a young age watching and learning from relations at kitchen tables and backyards in these territories. Foy has called Winnipeg home for seven years and has tried to use art and organizing in attempt to build stronger communities in the often disconnected and frayed urban environment of the city.
Barbara Bruce, O.M., President, All My Relations Inc; Associate of AMR Planning & Consulting
Barbara Bruce is a citizen of the Métis Nation – Michif aen Otipemisiwak, and Two-Spirit. Her beliefs of Métis and other Indigenous traditional teachings are reflected in all of the work she takes on. With more than 35 years of experience in consulting, Ms. Bruce has developed extensive networks and working relationships with the Métis Nation and other Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders, organizations and governments across Canada.
Her dedication to advancing the rightful place, recognition and acknowledgment of the Two Spirit community, Métis and other Indigenous women, and children are an integral part of her life.
Some of her past and current board appointments include: National Aboriginal Economic Development Board, Manitoba Communities Economic Development Fund, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, Top 40 Under 40, University of Winnipeg Board of Regents and Chair of the Métis Child and Family Services Authority.
Barbara has been recognized and honoured for her work by the Human Rights Commission of Manitoba for her significant contributions to promoting Indigenous rights and equality. Barbara was honoured by ‘Keeping the Fires Burning’ as a Kookum/Grandmother for her contribution of the wellbeing of Indigenous Peoples. Sagkeeng First Nation honoured her for her extensive contribution to economic development in Métis and First Nation communities. In recognition of her lifetime of work, she was inducted into the Order of Manitoba in 2018. Recently, she was recognized by the Nellie McClung Foundation as one of 150 Manitoba Women Trailblazers for her work in social justice and culture.
Dr. Myra Laramee, Indigenous Elder
Myra holds a bachelor of teaching, bachelor of education and masters in education and graduated with her Doctorate in October, 2013. Her research is founded in Indigenous Knowledge and practices as they related to teacher education. The theme of her thesis is in the acquisition, utilization, research and writing of Indigenous Knowledge and is titled “Teaching and Learning as an Act of Love: An examination of the impact of seven traditional Indigenous teaching practices in teacher education and on teacher’s classroom practices.” She describes how students who participated in annual Summer Institutes in Aboriginal Education made meaning of their experiences as learners in Indigenous knowledges and practices. This Institute ran 12 times during the years of 1994–2007.
She carries a traditional bundle for the Indigenous people of this territory and has made a vow of commitment to be a person of peace in the work that lies in her path. She personally believes that lack of knowledge amongst people is cancerous and spends most of her time seeking and imparting knowledge for capacity building and the development of truthful and peaceful relations.
As a traditional woman she is responsible for the transmission of knowledge and ceremony for women and children through the use of a Tipi Lodge. Care of children has been and will continue to be one of the most important things she can do. It is her belief that in order to be the best helper she can be, she needs to make sure balance is a reality in her life. She believes that education can foster some of that balance and it is a tool which can help First Nations, Métis and Inuit people move in the direction of becoming sovereign people especially in the areas of language and identity.
Family and community are significant in our identities and the Elders, teachers and mentors in Myra’s life demonstrated their encouragement to reach her potential and maximize the importance she holds on the earth. To this end, Myra spends as much time as she can imparting the goodness learned while listening to many Indigenous wisdom and Knowledge Keepers. In this she gives thanks for her learning journey.
Red River College Polytechnic Staff Webinars
NOTE: RRC Polytech staff log in required.
To register for any of the webinars listed below, self-register for CCDI and sign in. Next click on the webinar link and then click download on the webpage to start watching. You can find more information here or email email@example.com
Monday, June 7
Self-Guided: Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion – LGBTQ2+ Inclusion 101: Breaking down the alphabet and creating inclusive workplaces
This webinar provides the building blocks of the rainbow as we explore terminology and identity in relation to diverse genders and sexualities and common stereotypes that impact perceptions and behaviours. In addition, we will examine language used in the workplace and how to ensure inclusive communication practices and friendly branding techniques, in efforts to eliminate barriers faced by the LGBTQ2+ community.
Tuesday, June 8
Self-Guided: Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion – LGBTQ2+ intersectionality – Understanding the lived experiences of racialized LGBTQ2+ people
This webinar features a panel discussion of individuals who will share their experiences as members of the LGBTQ2+ community as well as being a racialized person. In addition, some will share stories of their religious identities through the lens of their race and sexuality. In illuminating these stories, we will come to understand how to be respectful of people’s backgrounds, especially of individuals who negotiate complex systemic barriers.
Wednesday, June 9
Self-Guided: Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion – LGBTQ2+ in today’s world
What does it meant to be LGBTQ2+ in 2019? Do we still need pride? Is being ‘out’ even a thing anymore? This webinar will explore what it means to be out and provide some insight as to the importance of being out in the workplace and how employers can improve things for their LGBTQ2+ workforce.
Thursday, June 10
Self-Guided: Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion – Coming out in the workplace – The LGBTQ2+ experience and how colleagues can support
Coming out in the workplace can be unsettling, as many share concerns over how colleagues may react personally as well as professionally and what this might mean for personal growth within the organization. This webinar will feature a panel of speakers who share their stories of coming out in the workplace, with the aim of providing an understanding of how colleagues can provide support to those going through this process.
Friday, June 11
Self-Guided: Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion – Creating LGBTQ+ inclusive workplaces
This webinar will provide insights and promising practices of how employers can go beyond pride, celebrate LGBTQ+ people through the year, and create and maintain inclusive workplaces for LGBT+ people and their allies throughout the year. It will also speak to what individuals can do to play a role in LGBTQ+ inclusion.