I’ve always been interested in LGBTQ2S+ and First Nations issues, and I’d love to focus my future research on two-spirit people. I’m a gay woman and my dad is Cree and Ojibwe, so it’s where my queer identity and my First Nations roots intersect.
Over the course of my degree, I had the chance to look at LGBTQ2S+ and First Nations issues in different ways. The paper I wrote about the history of LGBTQ2S+ people in Canada was a hard one to write. We think of our country as progressive, but gay marriage has only been legal in Alberta for a decade. And I learned about things like the “fruit machine.” In the 1960s gay men were shown porn and if their pupils dilated they were added to a database called “fruit machine” that was used by RCMP in searches.
Another paper I wrote explored ways LGBTQ2S+ First Nations people are represented in Western media and looked at theories that homophobia in First Nations communities started because of colonization.
But I think the coolest thing I did was an un-essay project for my gender issues in archaeology class. I coded a narrative video game to explore homophobia and sexual harassment in archaeology. Based on the player’s choices, the game presented random outcomes to real situations archaeologists have faced in the field, lab and classroom. Not only was it an opportunity to present and communicate research I did all semester, I got to combine my academic and creative sides and demonstrate how academia can be more accessible.
Anthropology doesn’t shy away from the uncertain. It doesn’t ignore its messy colonial past. It isn’t afraid to be self-reflexive and critical of itself. At its essence, anthropology is about embracing our humanity. That’s what I love most about it.
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.