National Indigenous History Month 2024

June 5, 2024

By Jessica Buffalo, Indigenous Initiatives Counsel 

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada, which also coincides with National Pride Month. Not only am I Indigenous, I also identify as Two-Spirit, and I think these two events are especially important to observe and understand today. This year, I have created a guide that not only provides information about National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day, but also includes information surrounding the Two-Spirit community.

The term “Two-Spirit” gained more traction after the third annual Intertribal Native American and First Nations Gay and Lesbian Conference in Winnipeg in 1990, when Dr. Myra Laramee first used it. The term can be used to describe both sexual orientation and gender, depending on the individual or the context.

“Two-Spirit is an umbrella pan-Native American term that describes gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation and/or spiritual identity. Some Two-Spirits may align with western LGBTQ+ identities and definitions while others may not. However, Two-Spirit is not a term for non-Native people to identify with. You can’t appropriate our culture because our identities as Two-Spirits on Turtle Island have always been. For each Two-Spirit based on their specific tribal tradition, there may be a unique name in the language that honors who they are. We are still decolonizing and learning so not everyone will know the words to describe how they identify.”

For more information about Two-Spirit within Indigenous communities, view the below resources:

  • Two-Spirit Dry Lab – Turtle Island’s first research group that focuses exclusively on Two-Spirit people, communities and experiences.
  • Two-Spirit Journal – Two Spirit Journal (2SJ) provides original content of news and current events to educate, build connectivity and to put a face and voice to the diverse and vibrant Two-Spirit community in the United States and Canada.

June is a time to celebrate and recognize our unique and diverse cultures within the First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. The events and education opportunities this month also demonstrate how to continue working towards reconciliation. Below are some events we are aware of at the time of this article, but please watch for other events in your local area as the month goes on.

Events

Alberta-wide

Banff

Edmonton and Surrounding Area

Calgary and Surrounding Area