The Two-Spirit Dry Lab (the “Lab”) proudly shares the exciting news of the recently published article from Lydia Toorenburgh (they/them), a tastawiyiniw (Two-Spirit) otipemisiwak (Bungi-Métis) person with mixed white settler ancestry, a Two-Spirit Dry Lab member, and a current PhD student on Lekwungen territory at the University of Victoria studying anthropology and Indigenous nationhood.
Lydia and their fellow queer, trans Métis PhD student and co-authour, Holly Reid (they/them), had their paper titled: Queering Collective Dreaming: Weaving Métis Futures of Belonging, published in the newly founded Pawaatamihk Journal.
Pawaatamihk, is a Michif and Cree word/concept that roughly translates to “collective dreaming” or “a group of people dreaming.” The editors of Pawaatamihk “…are inspired by the ways that Métis thinkers are building knowledge in many different spaces—within and outside of academia—and dream that this journal will become a nourishing home for Métis thought.” The editors endeavor to share knowledge in variegated forms, from “scholarly papers, visual art, poetry, book reviews, and community stories.” Perhaps most notably, they prioritize inclusive knowledge mobilization, as they write: “Intentional care will be put toward making space for 2SLGBTQ+ and gender diverse thinkers, scholars at different career stages, and community members not affiliated with academic institutions.”
“This article emerged organically from a cafe visit,” Lydia said, “Holly and I met for the first time and became fast friends over four hours spent discussing our lives and identity journeys as queer and trans Métis people. It was such a moving visit that we decided to share our stories together in the hopes that others might learn alongside us.”
This article explores using (Métis) sash weaving as a metaphor for two queer and trans Métis authors and “shares their journeys of “coming in” to their identities over time. They articulate how absence of 2SLGBTQ+ Métis role models and representation earlier in life interfered with aligning their own felt and expressed identities and ability to envision a joyful, connected future. In their search for those with resonant experiences, they found strength in community and kin. As a result, 2SLGBTQ+ Métis people and allies are invited to join a collective dreaming process to revitalize [their] queer teachings, reclaim their place in community, and return to relationship with one another.”
“What a powerful and much needed article. Lydia and Holly show us the power in dreaming, weaving and imagining another day for Indigenous people. What is so powerful is what Lydia and Holly describe, demonstrate and model in this piece,” marvels Travis Salway, Co-Principal Investigators of the Lab.
“Lydia and Holly chart a familiar pathway forward that may be new to some, rooted in their individual and collective Indigenous/Métis ways of knowing, being and doing. They answer the critical question of “who am I” in an expansive way – they are not trying to answer this question in relation or in response to the ever-present, omniscient colonial gaze, said Harlan Pruden, Co-Principal Investigators of the Lab, “What Lydia and Holly so beautifully show is that we can and should comfortably flourish in the “in-between” or the “yes and…” spaces, creating new and amazing possibilities. As Two-Spirit, Indigenous/Métis Queer, Indigiqueer people(s) – we live another day through their monumental work!”
“Lydia and Holly weave together strands of their many vibrant identities— Two-Spirit, queer, trans/non-binary, in between person, nation and settler affiliations—into a colourful, show-stopping sash,” applauds Ryan Stillwagon, Lab Research Specialist. “What’s so striking about their weaving is, by following their threads of becoming, they give you, the reader, permission to also embody your many multitudes as overlapping sources of strengths. The plurality of “yes and,” identities we all possess inspires a self-determinant stance toward life that celebrates our wholeness and recognizes our many gifts as springboards for living joyfully and sharing that joy with others. Lydia and Holly have stitched together a beautiful, intimate Métis sash of becoming and belonging that shimmers unendingly. I feel lots of gratitude toward them both.”
“One of our motivations in this article was to share our stories and encourage others to share their stories to make 2SLGBTQIA+ relatives more visible in our nation,” Lydia reflected, “Being part of the Lab is so exciting and fulfilling because it expands our circle of practice, care, and community. We are not alone in the world, and we are not alone in scholarship. As 2SLGBTQIA+ Indigenous people and our co-conspirators, we will always find and build community, wherever we go.”
Authors Holly Reid (left) and Lydia Toorenburgh (right) pictured at the Métis Nation of Greater Victoria’s First Pride Community Potluck