National Indigenous History Month

June is a busy time for celebrations! The weather is warmer and LGBTQ+ Pride Month takes center stage. As an organization that acknowledges it operates on unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin Territory, MAX thinks it’s also important to help do our part in honouring June as National Indigenous History Month.

For guys into guys who live, work, and play in the Ottawa region, many of us have become accustomed to hearing land acknowledgments. June is a good time to explore meaningful ways to expand our understanding of the rich history, diverse cultures, and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit, Métis people and other Indigenous peoples.

WHAT IS MAX DOING TO HONOUR THE MONTH?

As a GBT2Q+ (gay, bi, trans, two-spirit, queer) men’s health organization, a very small but powerful way MAX wanted to engage is to help share some truths about the term two-spirit. Some important details to keep in mind:

MAX has also been fortunate to have allied organizations and other knowledgeable entities share some of their suggestions for other meaningful ways community members can participate. Here are a few that we’re excited about:

Culture

The Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, located in Ottawa, “provides a wide range of medical clinics, social services and support, and youth programs for Ottawa’s 40,000+ Indigenous people.” Every Monday from 5:30-8:00 pm, they host culture night where all members of the community are invited to take part in activities to learn about Indigenous culture. Check out their website for more information.

The Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival takes place every year on or near June 21st. This date not only marks the beginning of summer solstice but also National Indigenous Peoples Day. In 2009, the day was expanded to a month. The festival will take place on June 21-24 2018 at Vincent Massey Park. It’s a free event and is a great way to celebrate the cultural diversity of the Métis, Inuit & First Nations communities in the National Capital area.

Reading List

Our friends at Octopus Books were kind enough to pass on some great reads to add to your collection. The list features mostly Indigenous authors on topics that range from Indigenous history, gender-related issues, autobiographies, and ways Indigenous communities are combating the negative impact of colonization.

Check out their Indigenous Studies section of their website for even more titles.

Sexual Health

The Native Youth Sexual Health Network (NYSHN) “is an organization by and for Indigenous youth that works across issues of sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice throughout the United States and Canada.”  Most of their work focuses on the health of Indigenous folks. However, their website and social media platforms have a variety of resources to help non-Indigenous educate themselves about the unique issues and help find solutions in solidarity with Indigenous folks.

A Hopeful Future

At MAX, we envision a community of self-affirming guys into guys that care for themselves and each other. This includes our two-spirit and GBTQ+ Indigenous guys. Non-Indigenous community members can help by taking it upon themselves to learn more about the rich history of Indigenous peoples to become better allies, service providers, and friends.