March 5, 2021 ·
Issue 2: Space(s)
When Indigenous youth began to hold space at O:se Kenhionhata:tie, we knew this was the beginning of a movement that was going to bring about change. We had become a ceremonial gathering space for Two Spirit and queer Indigenous youth and queer settler allies—a place for transformation.
Many of the youth who were part of the camp had very little knowledge of their culture and came wanting to learn about their Indigeneity. Knowledge keeper Dr. Kathy Absolon led us one evening in a full moon ceremony and shared teachings about the moon and the water we all carry within us. In a circle we formed around our sacred fire, Dr. Absolon passed a feather to invite us all to share about ourselves. Many youth cried as they spoke—there were tears of happiness and sadness from a longing to reconnect to the land. For some, it was their first time sitting in ceremony. The camp became a refuge where the youth could be themselves, unapologetically Indigenous and/or queer, and free of judgement.
The following is a collection of photos I shot at camp, along with words from land defenders who took up space with us.
— Shawn Johnston