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Book Reviewed:

Online Booklet. 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations: We are Part of a Tradition. First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission.
Available on the Internet in PDF format @ http://www.cssspnql.com:8080/cssspnql/ui/health/documents/personnesbispirituellesanglais.pdf

Review by Gary Simpson. All copyrights are held by the author.

Many of our readers might not know what the terms first nations and two-spirited mean. First nations is a term used to refer to Canadian aboriginal peoples, the various indigenous indian tribes found in Canada. The Inuit are not usually referred to as first nations peoples. Two-spirited is a term used by some first nation peoples to refer to gay or lesbian people. The spirit of both men and women are present in two-spirited people. This 70 page online book contains a lot of valuable information about the traditional roles of two-spirited people, how the roles of first nations gay and lesbian people changed after Europeans arrived in Canada, and current problems faced by two-spirited people. The booklet also has a brief outline of curriculum on two-spirited people. The online book also has an annotated bibliography and about 10 pages of resource organizations.

According to the book, two-spirited people were respected in traditional first nation cultures. They were viewed as existing due to the Creator's wisdom. They held important roles, such as visionaries, healers, counsellors, and medicine people.

Homophobia was not present among the first nations. Unfortunately, the attitudes toward gay people changed after Europeans arrived in Canada and European culture, and religion started to gain power and influence in first nation communities. Europeans brought heterosexism, homophobia, lesbophobia, biphobia, and negative attitudes towards the two-spirited to first nation peoples. Currently, there are serious problems of homophobia and discrimination against two-spirited people in first nation communities.

People do not choose their sexual orientation. The point is made forcefully in the book. According to the book, some straight people act as if being heterosexual was a "badge of righteousness. You'd think they'd achieved it after much struggle."

This book is an important resource for people wanting to learn about homosexuality and Canadian first nations culture and for people wanting to help reduce homophobia within first nations groups.




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