(Toronto, Ont) Like an arrow finding its mark, the 2nd Edition for Two Spirit Women illuminates the lives and experiences of today’s Two-Spirit women as a way to explore their world, find new sources and share this knowledge and wisdom with the community. The booklet asserts that it is only through learning and sharing can Two-Spirit women work to reclaim and restore the sacredness about their identities and themselves in not only their communities but also among their Peoples.
The author the 2nd Edition for Two Spirit Women is Doe O’Brien-Teengs, Swampy Cree and Irish Canadian roots, who grew up in Moosonee, Ontario. She is a member of Weenusk First Nation. She is a Two Spirit wife, mother, storyteller, writer, HIV activist/researcher and is currently a PhD student in Education at Lakehead University. She worked for 2-Spirited of the 1st Nations (7 years) and the Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy (14 years) between 1999 and 2013.
“I started work at 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations in October, 1999.” said Doe O’Brien-Teengs, “In the first few years, I was doing a lot of work teaching people about Two-Spirit people. I was working closely with Native Women’s Resource Centre in Toronto (NWRC), and we struck a partnership to create a resource that was just about Two Spirit women. Because NWRC serves only female clients, it was important to have a resource that was about women. And I also noticed that Two Spirit women were an invisible population in Toronto where so many services are provided for men. We wanted to fill a gap in our group consciousness as well as services for Two Spirit women. We created the first edition in a quick time frame. It was a modest beginning, and we were lucky enough to get funding again and I created the second edition a few years later. I added more Two-Spirit stories from our collective histories, as well as first hand accounts from interviews with Two-Spirit women. The Two Spirit Women’s Booklet 2nd Edition was written to be a resource for Two Spirit women, social service agencies and schools. The more we know, the more we can heal.”
The 2nd Edition for Two Spirit Women is a result of a collaboration between Toronto-based 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations, the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, who provided funding of this initiative, and the Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy.