TWO-SPIRIT STORIES: LEARNING TO NAVIGATE MULTIPLE FORMS OF OPPRESSIONS AND ESTABLISHING A PRACTICE OF WAHKOWTOWIN
In 2011, Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere (EGALE) published the following study, Every Class in Every school . The study, first of its kind in Canada focused on gathering high school students’ perspectives around homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. One of the recommendations from this study was that future research needed to be done around the experiences of Two-spirit youth (Every Class in Every school, 2011). This recommendation brings attention to the unique experiences that Two-spirit youth and/or Queer Indigenous people may have, particularly around their interconnected identities (Wilson, 1996). It has been expressed that if the only forms oppression that go noticed are singular we soon only begin to represent those who are fortunate enough to possess a simple and uncomplicated oppression (Kumashiro, 2002). This thesis focused on four Indigenous undergraduate and one Indigenous graduate students’ narratives around how they navigate their multiple forms of oppression while attending universities in Saskatchewan. The Cree concept of Wahkohtowin shaped the mixed qualitative nature of this study. A combination of an Indigenous research methodology with an anti-oppressive lens, and a voice-centered relational method of data gathering and analysis were used. The perceptions that participants shared in this research were heavily influenced by their varied relationships with their families, partners, teachers, Elders, and communities. A key finding that emerged was the notion of teaching others through their lived experiences and this was perceived to be an advantage of navigating homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and racism. Implications for enhancing education and policy are provided. Include themes that educators can explore when teaching Two-spirit issues. Highlight the ways policies can change to reflect a safe and nurturing environment for Two-spirit students in levels of education that are not exclusive to post-secondary.
Two-Spirit, Oppression, Education, Sexual Orientation, Indigenous research
Master of Education (M.Ed.)