Cheyenne Mihko Kihêw (they/them) is a Two-Spirit Indigi-queer, born and raised in amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton). Inspired by their own lived experiences with meth addiction and street involvement in their teen years, Cheyenne has dedicated their life to community-based work. They were the first in their family to attend university, holding a BA in Sociology from MacEwan. Currently, they are the Community Liaison for Edmonton 2 Spirit Society, a role that affords them the privilege of incorporating many of their passions into their work and is supporting their own journey of cultural reclamation. Cheyenne is the current Two Spirit Warrior regional titleholder 2021/2022, alongside Rob Gurney. They are also the current Chair of the Board of Directors for Boyle Street Education Centre, their former high school to which they accredit much of their achievements. Cheyenne is unapologetic in their identity as a nêhiyaw, fat, and queer femme and lives loud and proud.
EDMONTON 2 SPIRIT SOCIETY (E2S)
We are an intergenerational society dedicated to the acknowledgment and support of Two Spirit and LGBTQQIA+ Indigenous people and their kinship circles. Our organization offers:
- Cultural Ceremonies
- Cultural Competency Training
- Education Workshops
- Land Acknowledgments
- Resource Tabling
- Sharing Circles
- Outreach & Referrals
- Socials & Events
INCLUDED IN THIS EPISODE (But not limited to):
· Indigenous Life
· Residential School Scandal
· The Catholic Church’s Role In The Torture & Death Of Indigenous Children
· The Indian Act
· Replacement Theory
· The Short Sightedness Of The Rich & Powerful
· Indigenous Ceremonies
· Two Spirit Defined
· In Between Defined
· Indigi-queer Defined
· Indigenous Vs. Native American
CONNECT WITH CHEYENNE:
CONNECT WITH DE’VANNON:
· Deculturalization: https://bit.ly/3am35bC
· Quannah Chasinghorse: https://cnn.it/3wIItTC
· Pray Away Documentary (NETFLIX)
o TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk_CqGVfxEs
· Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed (Documentary)
· Leaving Hillsong Podcast With Tanya Levin
· Upwork: https://www.upwork.com
· FreeUp: https://freeup.net
· Disabled American Veterans (DAV): https://www.dav.org
· American Legion: https://www.legion.org
INTERESTED IN PODCASTING OR BEING A GUEST?:
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You’re listening to the sex drugs and Jesus podcast, where we discuss whatever the fuck we want to! And yes, we can put sex and drugs and Jesus all in the same bed and still be all right at the end of the day. My name is De’Vannon and I’ll be interviewing guests from every corner of this world as we dig into topics that are too risqué for the morning show, as we strive to help you understand what’s really going on in your life.
There is nothing off the table and we’ve got a lot to talk about. So let’s dive right into this episode.
De’Vannon: Good day. Good day. Good day to everyone out there. Hello. Oh, you beautiful people. I love you. I bless you. I kiss you in the name of the Lord. Hallelujah. Today I am talking with Cheyenne Mikko Kyo, and this beautiful soul is the community liaison at the Edmonton two-spirit society, which is up there in Canada. . So I entered the two-spirit and Digi queer, who was born and raised in [00:01:00] Edmonton. And this episode, we’re going to be diving deep into indigenous struggles.
We’re going to talk about the ongoing search for buried indigenous children up there in Canada. Uh, we’re going to get into the Indian act and then the church has a role in all of the evil that has been done to indigenous people.
Quite a ways back,
please take a close list. Hello? Hello. Hello. Every fucking beautiful body out there. And welcome, welcome. Welcome to the sex drugs and Jesus podcast. Hallelujah, tabernacle and motherfucking praise I have with me today. Shagun B O B go keel. Who is the community liaison for the Edmonton two society up in Canada. How the fuck you doing today, girlfriend?
Cheyenne: I’m doing wonderful. Thanks so [00:02:00] much for having me so excited to
De’Vannon: be here. Hell yeah, this has been a long time. Come in. It has out here. So tell us who you are. I’m super excited. Y’all we’re going to be focusing on native American, indigenous peoples a day and getting some head and all of that. What all the different terms are the struggles, the persecution of our native American indigenous people.
I’m part native American myself. And so as you can see, you are full blood. And so tell us who you are and what you I’m not
Cheyenne: full-blood no, I’m not full-blood. So I’ll just introduce myself in my indigenous language. So Cheyenne Mingo county and say godson I Ms. . So I said, hello, all my relatives.
My name is Cheyenne NIGO, Q M, or amigo que equate, which is my ceremonial name. It means blood Eagle being and I am from [00:03:00] Edmonton up in treaty six territory in Canada. And I’m not full-blood indigenous, so I’m actually mixed. But I don’t know my biological father. And so I have a whole half of my identity that I have no way to relate to.
So I’m very focused on my indigeneity for that reason, because there’s a cultural background that I’m missing in my life. And so it’s really important for me to stay connected to the parts that I am aware of. And so on my mother’s side, my maternal side I am from a tribe called the Woodlands Cree in Northern Alberta and treaty eight territory from a reserve called drift pal creation.
I was born and raised here in Edmonton, just due to family stuff. And my, my grandmother raising her children away from the reserve very intentionally. And yeah, so I’m, I’m not full blood, but I’m half, not that, but all of that is blood quantum. Like if you have a drop in your, your, your indigenous.
De’Vannon: Yeah. So you said she’s a Woodland Cree, not to be confused with marble Cree, but[00:04:00]
the multi-verse is huge. So you prefer they them,
Cheyenne: I do. Yeah. And there’s like a cultural reason for that.
De’Vannon: What is it? What’s the culture?
Cheyenne: Well, I met, oh, it’s broadly known as two-spirit. But within my, within my culture, cause two-spirit, we can talk a bit more about the intricacies of it. But two-spirit from my own understanding and learning my teaching from my nation.
I am one of eight genders. And so that equation, which is part of my name, amigo Cahill, a quail that means like neither man or woman, but all of the genders in one. And so I use they them pronouns to honor that my culture and my gender are inherently tied to each other. And it helps me as a way of stepping outside that binary of man and woman and being a little closer to my cultural.
De’Vannon: Okay. So then if someone says like how I did a few seconds ago, like, Hey girl, is that like the wrong? Well,
Cheyenne: [00:05:00] I really liked like girl, like when it’s like super sassy for me personally, and I can’t speak for all, like two-spirit people. Cause obviously I’m just one person from one nation. But like for me, I don’t mind like a sassy girl, but I low as being called lady or woman or ma’am or like inherently feminine ones because I have like the female body people like impose that on me.
And so I will very quiet, like plays, they not a girl or not a ma’am, but thank you. But when it’s like girlfriend, like that’s like sassy enough that I I’m cool with
De’Vannon: that. Yeah. The games we can get away with anything. So she likes her a good gay girl. Hey girl.
Cheyenne: And if I’m in ceremony, like that’s like the one spot too, where I’m like, if, if a, if an elder who’s running the ceremony, he uses, he, him pronouns for me. That’s how that person is seeing me in that ceremony. And so then that’s, that’s okay. I’m okay with that in a ceremonial context, within reason.
De’Vannon: So when you say ceremony, okay.
So is this like the Indian powwows that I used to go to where they’ve got [00:06:00] everything like that? It sounds like you’re talking about some high spiritual person who’s viewing you in a, through like a, an Oracle lens. So what, when you say ceremony would.
Cheyenne: Yeah. So when I’m talking about ceremony so here in Canada, we don’t tend to call ourselves Indians.
That’s like a very, more like American kind of way of speaking of indigeneity. But up here in Canada, our ceremonies, like particularly within my nation, again, I can’t speak for all indigenous people because we’re not a monolithic group. Right. We all have different teachings and ceremonial practices.
But in my teachings a ceremony would be like, I think like a sweat lodge how else are ceremonial? But they’ve also kind of shifted into more of like a social gathering now. Other types of ceremony could be like a Sundance ceremony or a pipe ceremony a fasting ceremony, chicken dance ghost.
There’s lots of different kinds of ceremonies.
De’Vannon: I know that’s right. And we’re going to get into lots of different kinds of things. So y’all heard her mentioned two-spirit [00:07:00] indigenous, you was saying the native American is kind of like, you know, an Americanization. The, the culture here. So so Cheyenne is going to break down to us like what two-spirit means in depth.
What I wanna, I wanna, we’re gonna find out that I want to know what in-between means in Digi queer, and is what the fuck, the differences between native versus indigenous and everything like that. Cause I don’t want people looking at me fucking crazy when I address them. But before we get into that, I saw an article that came on on LGBTQ nation which is a great website to keep up with LGBTQ trends and they have a term called the culturalization and the article is talking about basically how.
Education systems are low key whitewashing, native American indigenous children. They get them in there. They’re cutting their hair as a different way. The things that they show them and everything like that, they’re basically turning the native American, indigenous kids white and doing it undercover and have been getting [00:08:00] away with it.
What do you think about.
Cheyenne: Yeah, that’s a big topic here in Canada right now. Because we have our own system of education that was imposed on indigenous children since the 18 hundreds. And that was the Indian residential school system here in Canada. And it was largely based off of the boarding schools that, that article that you’re talking about.
Highlights. I really recommend folks to go take a look at the article if you’re not familiar with the process of deculturalization for students. So here in Canada, the, the idea was that if you took the children out of their home and put them into a school, you could disrupt control continuity. So what that means is you interrupt their learning of their traditional language, their belief systems you interrupt basically all of that cultural development that they would receive by living with their elders, living with their community.
And that process in Canada was really, really, really violent. My own grandparents actually were in the residential school system. They both survived, but not without the long-term impacts [00:09:00] of that. So while it also does things like, you know, it helps you forget your language or helps you be ashamed of your indigeneity.
Students were coming out of the schools with like sexual abuse, trauma, physical trauma. Some students didn’t make it out of the school’s life. And so that’s where we’re at now in Canada is the schools. They’re starting to use ground penetrating radar to look into the school yards and finding unmarked graves like mass, unmarked graves, basically.
And so of the, I think it’s 136 schools here in Canada. They’ve only gone through a small portion of them, but many, many, many children are being found. And so actually I’m wearing a pin to. This orange pin here, this symbolizes the children who didn’t make it home, that symbolizes all of the children who survived.
And it’s based off of a residential school survivor here in Canada named Phyllis Webb’s dad. And she had gotten brought into the school with her little orange shirt. She was so proud and they took the school. The school took her shirt from her [00:10:00] and took away her pride and her dignity and replaced it with trauma.
And so I do believe that that process of deculturalization is happening in the schools. And we say a lot now, like in Canada, the last school closed in 1996. But the process is still ongoing because you’re seeing indigenous students face higher rates of bullying and suicide within schools than their non-indigenous counterparts.
And if you add the like complexity of being queer on top of it, you’re queer and indigenous you’re like. You’re just having like harder outcomes basically. So I think education is used as a way of really separating our students from their belief systems. And it’s, it’s, it’s problematic to say the least, because as two-spirit people, we’re, we’re still trying to come back from the eraser that happened within Canada, the residential school system we’ve been here.
So it’s a hard topic to talk about, but yeah, apologies that I’m going to cough. I am still recovering from COVID. So,
De’Vannon: honey, I’m glad you’re alive. [00:11:00] Yeah. So I want to date, I appreciate your bonus and your willingness to talk about this difficult subject. I want to dig deeper into the deaths of these children.
So let me be clear. The, the, so the kids are showing up in school. Are they getting murdered at the school or were they murdered, murdered somewhere else? Then they dumped the bodies at the school.
Cheyenne: So historically the children were actually forced to leave their homes. There wasn’t an option. So the RCMP, the Royal Canadian mounted police would come to the homes, take the children and bring them to the school.
If the parents weren’t going to give the children up, then the parents were imprisoned and the children were brought to school. So many children. Died trying to escape the schools. I’m trying to cross through Canadian terrain, which is obviously in winter, quite cold and harsh. And so was children died that way.
But many children died in the schools at the hands of the priests and the nuns that were often running the school. So Catholic church, other denominations were running these schools across Canada. And stock was basically who [00:12:00] was incurring the abuse onto the children, but there was also a another level where the Canadian government authorized.
Experimentation medical experimentation on the students, in the schools as well. So some students were being starved. Other students were having their nutrients kind of like being toyed with so that they could figure out how different nutrients impact the body. And they did that on the students, in the schools.
So some students died just simply malnutrition not being fed enough or the conditions in the schools were, were quite terrible as well. Like, like quite deplorable you know, very drafty, no weather protection and the nurse, the, the, the nuns and the priests, they good, they were taken care of, but the children yeah, and, and a lot of sexual abuse too.
And there’s a lot of stories of priests impregnating young women in the schools and then the babies being taken and, and burned in furnaces. So those are bodies that will never recover. But some of the bodies are marked like some of the graves are. And you can find them in records, but a lot of the bodies [00:13:00] are not written or documented anywhere.
And there are residential school survivors who never saw their families come out of the schools or saw their families die in the schools and, and know that their bodies will never be found. So it’s, you know, a lot of it was at the hands of the people who were running the schools.
De’Vannon: I really hate the Catholic church.
Cheyenne: It’s yeah, it’s, it’s a hard thing.
De’Vannon: I, I, I don’t really hate very many things in this life, but th the, then the destruction that churches, denominations of religions, cause this is just load some is the testable is one of the things that I cry out to God. I cry out against churches and denominations.
I pray about this, you know, all the time, you know, because who else can really do anything about an organization say as the largest Catholic church or mega churches. So I pray to God specifically for him to do [00:14:00] something about these churches and these preachers that have gone book damn wild, drunk with power, and they have no accountability.
They fear nothing. And and I suppose, I think, cause they have a lot of money or whatever the case may be. Don’t know, but that, that that’s that bullshit right there. It really, really pisses me off, you know, these priests nuns. And I’ll tell you the megachurches again, you know, we’re supposed to be, would go to these people for a sense of security and help, and everything is supposed to be all right.
If it’s wrong, everywhere else in the world is supposed to be right when we’re in the house of the Lord or in front of somebody who’s supposedly his representative or ambassador not getting raped, beat starved. You know, down here kicked out a church for not being straight or fired from volunteering or not being straight the way churches just handle people.
I don’t attack churches for like having money and stuff like that. Everyone else is already doing [00:15:00] that. I don’t want to turn into the guy who’s trying to control them, which is the problem I have with them as the way they want to control what the people. So if you want to make money, if people are silly enough to sit there and give it to you and keep buying your books, your regurgitated sermons, and all of that, okay, that’s your, you ground, you selling something to another grown person that’s on y’all with the abuse of the people that they’re trying to conversion therapy, people trying to con you know, make people change to be accepted.
And all of that is what I go after the church fourth, the way they treat people in that, that bullshit right there. What you’re talking about is absolutely terrible. How, how many years back are these bodies being found? How long ago was.
Cheyenne: Well, the first school was in the 18 hundreds, the ground penetrating radar.
That was just over a year ago that they started doing this. So the first school was, I don’t know the exact date. I apologize. But yeah, it was just last year that they did the first school. And then now where there’s just funding happening for all of these different, smaller nations [00:16:00] to also start the process.
But the last school closed in 1996. I was already like 10 years old at that point. Right. Like I was alive. If I would’ve grown up on the reserve, I could have gone to a residential school. I have friends who went to residential schools or went to day schools. Right. A lot of the elders that we work with went through this process as well.
So it’s fresh. It’s, it’s like, you think it’s from the 18 hundreds, but it’s, it’s really not like it’s, it’s fresh in our minds and our hearts.
De’Vannon: So these schools were on the reservation. They were not.
Cheyenne: They weren’t public. Some of them were day schools on the reserve where students just went in for the day and came back out.
But the majority of the schools were on the reserve or near the reserve. Sometimes they would be multiple reserves attending one school. And like the earlier schools that we were developed, it’s not like how Canada is now, where, you know, we we’re, we’re quite colonized at this point. And so there’s a lot of settlements all over the country.
Right. But at that point, Canada was largely empty land. Right. So the schools would be between reserves or settlements. [00:17:00] Yeah. And like they were weren’t, they weren’t necessarily public, like for non I don’t, I’m not aware of non-indigenous students attending the schools unless they were inherently related to the church or the people running the schools.
De’Vannon: So then I’m curious. So there was Catholic influence there. What history, how is the Catholic church in native American indigenous people intertwined in the first.
Cheyenne: Yeah, well, because the government was working directly with the church, right? So the government developed a document in 1876 called the Indian act and the Indian act is still in progress today was still, still guided by this policy.
And it basically the Canadian government gave themselves authority over indigenous peoples. So it determines that indigenous peoples are clearly incompetent of taking care of themselves there and colonized or uncivilized. We need to you know, eradicate them. Basically. They wanted to kill the savages.
There’s like documentation from the earlier government [00:18:00] of how they wanted to do this. And part of that process was in collaboration with the church. So having the church run, these schools was a way of, Hey, we’re moving the government, right? They’re not, they’re having to provide more staff. But also that indoctrination process, right, because the Canadian government at that time, I was coming from Europe.
And so a lot of what they did was based around their religion, very, very Eurocentric religious kind of ideologies that were running these political movements. And so that’s kind of how it got intertwined. And there was like a really contentious history now with indigenous people and the church, because the church ran these schools for so long.
And so people like my grandmother while she was alive, you know, I couldn’t get her to go to a pipe ceremony with me. We didn’t go to sweat lodges. She went to church, like she went to church religiously. She was in church every Sunday. I sang in the choir for like a few years before I realized, what am I doing here?
Like this isn’t for me. And I miss my grandmother. I love my grandmother, but I basically had to recently stop celebrating anything, tied to religion [00:19:00] holidays. Like I don’t do Christmas. I don’t do Easter. If it’s tied to a religion I’m not interested. And that’s a way of me honoring my grandmother.
Because she was so religious, but that was like that cultural indoctrination, right? The religious indoctrination that she experienced from being in the schools for 12 years. Right. And she didn’t talk about the abuse or the violence, but we experienced it in our family that was passed on to us. So I think that’s why the religion aspect is tied to us.
A lot of our indigenous peoples still honor religion in, in a way that makes sense for them. And that’s up to them. We can’t say you shouldn’t do that because the, the church did this, right. It’s a, you know, autonomous decision. But for me personally, as an indigenous person, I don’t see how I could honestly honor a religion that caused so much harm in my family.
That I’m still feeling the effects of that might generations beyond me will still continue to feel.
De’Vannon: So I’m a little confused. So she, you started, you’re telling me she was an avid church goer, but she was abused by the, by the church. Yeah.
Cheyenne: Yeah. That’s, that’s how deep some of that trauma is. That’s how deep [00:20:00] some of that pain is like.
And like I say, hers, her, her experiences in the schools, she wouldn’t talk about. She, she, she adamantly the only thing she talked about was the babies being thrown in the furnace basically.
De’Vannon: But if, but if her pain came from the religious people, why would she still go to the religious place?
Cheyenne: I wish he was alive.
So I could ask her because that’s something I’ve been struggling with my whole life. I don’t understand how people who have this experience and their families can turn to the church for comfort or for kindness. And, and a lot of indigenous people who will celebrate in religion will like very adamantly speak up about it.
Like, you know, they are very much, we had had experienced with an individual recently who works for a very well-known organization for a group called the Maytee, which is a group of indigenous peoples here in Canada. And at one point this individual said, you know, I’m not to spirit. I believe in God, I don’t go to ceremony.
And he was like in a space full of two-spirit people. And we were like, [00:21:00] what is happening right now? Like, it’s so it, I wish I had the answer to that. I don’t know. And I think that just goes to how deep some of, some of that internalization and that shame of being indigenous really goes, that comes from having those experiences that you do in the school.
De’Vannon: No, At the end of the damn day, all we need is God. I believe in the Trinity. I’m not naive. I know not, everybody’s going to believe in God, Jesus Christ in the holy ghost. And I don’t really care. I just, but I can only say about me. And so and I don’t think anyone’s less than me or they’re going to burn up and go to hell or anything like that.
If they don’t believe, like, I believe we just believe differently into story done. I say it all the time. I love hanging out with the Buddhist temple because I like being around other ball bitches. Like me it’s fucking the brain. So they had great vegetarian food. So I flux and everything like that, but I’m clear on what I stand for.
They don’t try to make me worship that that day as Buddha statue they have in the temple, you know, that I don’t have to bow to it or anything like that. It’s a [00:22:00] very comfortable space and they don’t judge me. I don’t judge them. We just share thoughts. And so at the end of the day, Oh, I feel like only thing I need is God, you know, my personal relationship with him when I die and everything like that, it’s just going to be him.
There’s not going to be a church. The stand before the judgment throne with me, there’s not going to be a dogma or a doctrine or a choir at least not an earthly choir, you know, or anything like that. Do you know the, one of the main pillars of my ministry, Cheyenne, is to get people off of this church and religion and pass their preacher worship leader conference, going book, buying addiction that people have to these organizations and things like that.
A lot of it is rooted in fear. They felt like they don’t go to church. They’re going to burn up and go to hell. And so then I tell these people, where did you get this belief from? Who told you that the person who wants you to keep coming to church? So, you know, I encourage people to do their own research across religions.[00:23:00]
And especially the Hebrew Bible to learn how to read the original languages. I’m getting ready to do a show. I’m going to get really deep into exactly who in the fuck interprets the Bible, you know, and things like
in it. And I’m like the masses are not represented. And so I don’t blame you for saying, fuck Christmas, fuck Easter. You know, Christmas is just a greedy ass holiday buck, an Easter bunnies and chicken eggs. What the hell does that have to do with anything? And so I don’t feel like we should have to have a holiday to remind us the worship price or to remind us of his sacrifice is better than nothing at Vanguard for the people who only go to church on Christmas and Easter for fuck’s sake, it’s better than nothing.
You know, I, it was only, it’s only been one. Tom. And my life that I have been to someone’s house with this was when I was in the military and I wasn’t able to come home for leave. [00:24:00] I think it was Thanksgiving where some were where the family who was running, this actually went around the table that acknowledged the reason for the holiday and gave us a chance to express gratitude everywhere else.
I’ve been no matter whose house has been labor day, Memorial day, 4th of July, Christmas, Easter, new year’s or whatever. It’s just food, alcohol, whatever nobody ever stops to pray for the veterans who died to give you the holiday to say a prayer to Jesus or nothing is just consuming and consumption and more greed.
And I don’t sound bitter because this is the truth. Isn’t, as I’m saying this, how many holidays festivals, people who are listening when you go for labor day, weekend, 4th of July, things that are centered around veterans dying, you know, so that you can have. The holiday. When do you ever give thanks to the veterans, the people who have died, when do you pray for the people who are in the military or anything like that?
Do you donate to the veteran service organizations, the disabled American veterans, the DAV, or the American Legion? [00:25:00] What do you do on veteran holidays besides get fucked?
Cheyenne: One Thanksgiving to the indigenous people who lost their lives so that you could have the land that you’re on now. Right? Like the Thanksgiving is another one. Again, our Thanksgiving here in Canada is a little different because ours isn’t centered around pilgrims and all of that, ours is centered around the harvest.
And so we’re getting thanks to the lens, the abundance that we’re getting from the land. Whereas I think your Thanksgiving is based on cultural genocide, right? So it’s a bit of a different I think I know there’s a big push now for Thanksgiving to be shifted into. Right. I’m thinking more Columbus day as well as the other one.
Both of those holidays, I think, are quite contentious in, in your part. Not so much here in Canada, but the two often get quite confused, right. There was no border prior to colonization. Right. That’s and I guess that’s where the American thing comes from. Yeah.
De’Vannon: So yeah, so they’re starting to call Thanksgiving [00:26:00] friends giving down here instead of Thanksgiving.
I want to say maybe Joe Biden started that or something. You know, our current president. I’m not don’t quote me on that, but I think something like that may have come out of the white house, but it’s friends giving now. So we’re not even calling it Thanksgiving anymore. It’s over. It’s done with and you have fuck Columbus.
Y’all, don’t have a fuck Columbus attitude up there.
De’Vannon: do any shit at all. Okay.
Cheyenne: We have other we have other like leaders, more of the political side of things, as opposed to like the explorers. So one of the big, like, fuck you people right now is John ate. McDonald’s like, fuck that guy. He was candidate.
Prime minister. And he was the one who signed a lot of those documents that took the children from their home that forced indigenous people to live this whole new way of being and knowing. Right. So, yeah, fuck that guy like, and Ryerson that’s another one. Fuck that guy too. They recently had an event in, in Toronto and they [00:27:00] went to the Ryerson university and they took his fucking head off the statue.
And that, that statue head now lives in an indigenous land camp where they’re fighting for, for their land. Yeah, it’s interesting times here in Canada, but yeah, we we’ve got different, different leaders that were like, no, fuck that guy. That guy sucks. Like, why are we honoring Johnny McDonald like that?
Because the douche bag, he’s the OG douchebag like,
De’Vannon: oh, gee deuce bag. That’s not a title we want.
Cheyenne: I know, I think I’ll pass on that title.
De’Vannon: So, so colonization is something you’ve mentioned that. So that’s basically like our deep, culturalization the way they’re trying to turn the indigenous and native American kids. White, low key is colonization. It’s the same thing, right?
Cheyenne: would say like, deculturalization deculturalization is like a process of decolonization, right? It’s like it’s a, it’s a piece of the whole deep colonization process, if that makes sense. [00:28:00]
De’Vannon: So have you heard of replacement theory yet?
Cheyenne: I don’t think so.
De’Vannon: There’s something that’s happening down here right now.
I’m going to send you a, since we’re talking about the evil shit, white people. Right now this, if it’s into the conversation, I wasn’t going to bring this up, but we just had a shooting down here likely in the last couple of days, I want to say maybe Buffalo, New York or something like that. This fucking white kid went, took his ass online and research places where black people are known to be.
If he took his time they were saying on the morning, Joe show on MSNBC this morning that he he went the day before to like the school or mall or church or whatever it was to case the place. And he went there a few hours before the shooting. And then he took out like 10 people. I think he killed like 10 people or something like that.
And that’s, that’s an ongoing story, but you know, this is a white person in these, and he read the manifestos of previous serial of mass shooting people and stuff like that [00:29:00] before. So it was going on down here in the United States. We have all of these white people who feel like they’re fearing that they’re going to be replaced by everything.
Not. And so this whole replacement theory that of nonwhite people should be eliminated in the white people should take over. But what do you think about that theory is as a thing and it’s happening now?
Cheyenne: Yeah, that my heart goes out to all the people that were impacted by that, but it’s just so sad replay like that.
It’s just so ridiculous. There are a lot of white people in the world. White people have the monopoly on like so much, you know? I, I, yeah, I, it honestly blows my mind that people, I wonder how somebody gets to that point and I have empathy for that person in that he is so wrapped up in this delusion that’s like basically just guided by racism, right?
Like just, just call it what it is. It’s a hate crime. He was a white guy, intentionally targeting a black [00:30:00] community. Right. Like if you’re that diluted about skin color, like melanin, like you just have more melanin in your skin then than him. Like, I don’t understand. Yeah, I honestly, I’m a little, I’m a little out of words for that one, because it’s just, so it’s just so out there, like replace in theory, it’s.
It feels like it’s a direct attack on critical race theory, right? Like it’s like almost like the, the extremist alternative to critical race theory. But it’s like obviously going in the wrong direction.
De’Vannon: Well, you know, the Republicans are behind that sort of thing, even though they don’t want to say it because that same guy who wouldn’t shout of all these people, like I think a year ago he had, he was in a mental health institution for a reason.
And there is a law that they could have used for ban him from buying a done and they didn’t do it. So he had illegally purchased gun that he modified using some tools from his dad’s shed. But the point is somebody who was, who are they? Mental health patient [00:31:00] was allowed to legally purchase a gun who has now killed people and see the white Republicans here don’t want strict gun laws.
Cheyenne: Right. That’s a whole other conversation. We could do a whole podcast on just that.
De’Vannon: So y’all, don’t hear her for like Democrats and Republicans in Canada. What do you
Cheyenne: have? Yeah, like liberals and conservatives, which is like basically the same thing. Like a lot of our leaders. Have, you know, models off of American Republicans.
The province that I live in Alberta, we have a premier. His name is Jason Kenney, and this is me taking off my work hat and putting on just my own personal hat because it’s nonpartisan. Jason Kenney is also a douchebag and he doesn’t really care about much of anybody. So his handling of the pandemic has been terrible the way he honors he’s just very fake kind of person, but.
Very much like a mini Stephen Harper who was a prime minister and here in Canada for many years, very conservative. And [00:32:00] that individual is very in with a lot of the Republicans in the states. So you know, a lot of our laws here we’re, we’re really curious about what’s going to happen with the overturning of the row because that could also trickle up here in Canada.
A lot of what happens in the states impacts is impacted in Canada. And you wouldn’t think, but again, borders are imaginary, right? And Canadians aren’t that far removed from American politics, unfortunately.
De’Vannon: Oh for fuck’s sake. I know, I think about this Cheyenne so much, you know, the way white people greet people of every race, but it seems to be heavily white, you know, because the rest of us, you know, we don’t, we’re not coming from generations of wealth and shit like that, you know?
So we’re not so comfortable that we have time to go fucking with other people. You know, we’re still, we’re trying to keep, get, keep our own shit together. This is a comfort and luxury. That’s typical for like white people. They’ve been financially comfortable, so long, medically taken care of [00:33:00]accepted everywhere they go.
So they have time to try to attack other people and take them down. When you’re trying to build up yourself, your family, your energy is going towards, self-improvement not towards trying to tell a woman what to do with her body or try, you know, not trying to tell people they can or can’t get married. We don’t have the time.
We’re too busy trying to survive and come up ourselves.
Cheyenne: We’re just trying to survive literally.
De’Vannon: But in the grand scheme of eternity, You know, the Lord said, what, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and the lose his soul. These people act like that judgment day is never going to come for them or is not going to come at all.
Maybe they can build a colony on Mars and skip out on the return of Jesus, you know, can kind of watch it from afar or whatever the fuck they think they’re going to be able to do with all these space missions and shit. But but you know, the way they add it has no eternity in the, in the scope. In the perspective, there isn’t no eternity, you can’t treat people the way these white [00:34:00] people treat people and think you’re going to die and have a peaceful afterlife.
So it’s shortsighted. If I was the devil, I would totally try to trick people into being racist. And I’m a thoughtfulness and hateful in any way, shape or form. And to get them to focus on the things of this. You have rich people who are stepping on people to get even richer. Well, bitch, you can already buy whatever you want.
Why the fuck do you want more money? Even if you have to hurt people to get it, you know, it’s shortsighted. So you might get all of that here, you know, and you die. And you’d be like the Richard Guy in the Bible, you know, who turned away the people. And then he died and went to hell, you know, what is the point?
You know, you can’t take it with you. Why so much struggling in this life on things that are going to be temporary anyway.
Cheyenne: Yeah. And so much disregard for the humanity and in your peers around you, right? Like at some point money, this overrides so much common sense. [00:35:00] Ridiculous. Yeah. Capitalism.
De’Vannon: It’s just foolish it testifies against them that they already have it.
You know? And then I’m gonna say this about the mega churches and then we’ll get into the definitions of things. You know, the book of Jeremiah it It speaks about how, let me see specifically, I can’t think of the damn chapter. It’s like Jeremiah 21 or 22. And it talks about how God is angry with pastors who, who dismiss people or who just keep on plodding along with their success.
And if they lose a member or a sheep or, you know, they hurt people and they don’t go to try to make it right. You know, you know, just treat them as collateral damage, you know, just, you know, just a part of doing business. You can’t save everyone, but the Lord is not that way. He wants you to stop the whole.
To go and get that one loss sheet, not [00:36:00] just keep on trucking along, you know, writing more books and more sermons than selling more music, more worship albums and all the stuff that they do and more tapes and expanding your media empire and getting richer. But you know, you have people, you have churches have caused damage to people.
They don’t apologize for it. They don’t do anything to make it. Right. And that is not okay.
Cheyenne: Well, we just got an apology from the Pope. I don’t know if you follow that. So there was a group of delegates first nations Maytee and Intuit. So those are our free, like overarching indigenous groups here in Canada, first nation, maintain and unit.
And then there’s different subgroups within those it’s gets complicated. There’s lots of indigenous people. Anyways, we had done. Go to the Vatican recently, it was all over the news where they basically we’re going to bring their stories to the Pope. It was like kindness. The way Canada has a big history of apologizing for things that they do.
You know, they’ve apologized for many things over the years. The residential schools and all there were all sorts of stuff. [00:37:00] But these delegates were hoping to have, you know, some recognition, not only from the Pope, like not only an apology, but the Pope and the Vatican are holding onto documents. And those are what we were hoping to get was these documents, as well as all of the ceremonial items that were taken from indigenous people when our ceremonies were illegal here in Canada, which was for many years.
And so none of those items that were stolen were returned, the documents weren’t released, but the Pope did make an apology. But if you read the apology. The language that he used was very specific. He doesn’t apologize for the church’s involvement. He apologizes for certain individuals activities.
And that is a cop-out because it’s a way of absolving the entire church, including himself as the Pope, from what happened here in Canada. So apologies are one thing, but like, we need action, right? Like why isn’t the Pope here in Canada and he’s supposed to be making a trip actually in the coming, I think year it’s supposed to be stopping here.
It had been Ted, but why isn’t he going to these graveyards? Right? Why isn’t he going to these quote unquote [00:38:00] schools? We’re calling them schools, but they’re like concentration camps. Why isn’t he going to these, these, these grounds and seeing the bodies in the graves? Why isn’t he helping dig? Do you know what I mean?
Like, he’s never going to do that cause he’s a million years old, but that’s besides the point is that we got this like apology, but even the apology itself is so convoluted. If from a linguistic perspective, if you break apart the apology, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s, it’s nothing, it’s nothing. So yeah, and, and there was a specific.
Around two-spirit people like where’s the apology for us in particular, right? Because there is a bit of a different impact for two-spirit people specifically here in Canada,
De’Vannon: the poke and go fuck himself. Like I literally don’t give a damn about the Pope, the Catholic church, and none of that idol worshiping convoluted, religiously diluted and watered down.
And Krokus shit that the Catholic church is, you know, just, just, I mean their [00:39:00] amount of like angel worship and stuff like that. Is just, okay. You know, the Hebrew brothers tells us not to pray to angels and when angels would come only to, there’s only two names of angels in the typical recorded Bible and that’s Michael and Gabriel, the other angels did not give their names.
And so I don’t know where these people get all of these angels names from and everything like that. And they’re praying all of these saints. I mean, offering prayers up to everyone, but God, and I’m all like, Okay. Okay.
Jesus said pray to him and him alone. Not the Virgin. Mary, not St. Jude, not Felicia, our trough on Ark Kendrick or whoever else you, you who fucking dead, you know?
Cheyenne: Yeah. When I pray, I always say I pray to my ancestors. I prayed to the creator as well, but I don’t really know who created me or what that is, [00:40:00] but I have ancestors and I know that they were real and I know that they lived because I’m here and I’m alive.
And so that’s who I pray to. Cause they’re still, they’re guiding me and supporting me and loving me. Yeah, I think prayer can be a very like personal thing. Right. And you’re right. Like a lot of times it is watered down. Do your prayers before bed, like what does that even mean? Or where’s the intention, right?
De’Vannon: I agree with what you’re saying. I get from a native American perspective, it reminds me of a lot of how it is in Asia, Nina, where they pray to their ancestors, do what you gotta do. But I’m saying if you’re going to claim a division of Christianity and tie directly to the Trinity and the Trinity has told you to create to no one, but the father, then you’re doing wrong.
You, you know, what you’re doing is not Christian strictly in the religious I’m talking about in the E and E in the east and Asia are not, you know, Christians specifically like say at the Buddhist symbol, when I go there, they have like a whole altar and everything to the ancestors and stuff. Okay. Pray to your ancestors, but you’re not [00:41:00] claiming to follow Jesus Christ in the first place.
I would think if you’re going to follow him, they act like who you’re following, but the Catholic church as a whole. Hodgepodge the whole, then the, all the fucking rules they have. ’em all like we wouldn’t have fuck came up with this. And so everyone went to the next shit changes with the wave of his hand.
I’m all like at each on of them is supposed to be infallible or whatever the fuck, I don’t know, go to HBO. Max, do law, sexy ass. There’s a series on that. He called the young Pope and the new Pope. It is interesting as fuck. And everybody, all the down to the poker, smoking cigarettes and shit, and people are fucking everything.
And they’re really telling you what life is like behind the Vatican and the police in the Vatican and the political scandals and the bullshit and the secrets and the priests fucking, the alter boys and everything like that. Yeah, it’s all in there. That shit is good. [00:42:00] Okay. So tell us two spirit. You’ve talked about it.
You’re going to go through the definition it’s defined to spirit go.
Cheyenne: I can’t. So the word two-spirit the idea of being two-spirit is that it is generally an indigenous person who is part of like who is gender or sexually diverse. And so the term two-spirit actually is really just a placeholder term.
It was developed in it actually came to an elder. Her name is Myra Laramie and she had a pipe vision. So she was in a ceremony, lifting a pipe and you know, saying her prayers, whoever she praised to, I don’t know. But in her prayers, she, you know, was asking for some guidance because she was starting to do this work with indigenous queer and trans people and being like, how can we unite us?
Because the impacts from residential schools meant that our community was really divided. Folks were like, you know, internalized homophobia, internalized [00:43:00] transphobia. So it was a very underground movement. And there was just, you know, they needed more. And so she received this word. It’s an initial, initial nob bay more Winward and it’s a niche money dialogue, and that’s literal translation is two-spirit.
So she brought this that was in 1996. And she brought that term to or 1990, sorry, I’m getting my dates wrong. Anyways. She brought it to the native American gay and lesbian conference. It was their third annual one in Winnipeg, and there was a number of queer and trans indigenous leaders who I look up to now as a two-spirit person.
But folks like Barbara brew is Beverly Little thunder and Albert McCloud. And these individuals gathered at the conference and were like, we need a term that helps us to unify our. It is a term that folks can use while they’re reconnecting to their own indigenous languages. And it’s like, basically something that is there for the [00:44:00] youth, right?
Like what is, what is, what can we do? And she said, well, you know, I had this pipe ceremony, like I had this vision and niche money dog is the word that came to me. And so they kind of decided as a group that this would be a term that they would start using. Recognizing that really what we want folks to do is reconnect to their own indigenous language because that’s where you start to get into the complexities of what it means to be two-spirit within your own cultural identity.
So when I say that, I can’t define it. It’s because my teachings as a Cree person are going to be different as somebody who’s done a Stony SU Navajo, right? Like, so what being two-spirit means to me comes with an own, my own cultural definition. And so that’s going to look differently to different people in different nations.
And it really depends on how far into your journey you are, how connected. And you are to your community, your culture, your teachings, but also recognizing that a lot of these teachings have been impacted by the residential school system, by the church. Right. And so you have teachings that even seep into our ceremonies now, right.
And that’s a whole other, we can, we can get into that topic, but so that’s kind of how the term [00:45:00] two-spirit was. Developed. And it’s, you know, that native American gay and lesbian conference is still happening. They’re going to have the 35th annual conference this year and it’s now called the international two-spirit gathering.
And we hosted it. They had been to two spirits society hosted it last year. So it was really nice to be part of that little piece of history. There’s also a lot of roots within HIV advocacy. That that group was originally doing back in the nineties. And so, yeah, it’s been a bit of a journey, but really there was a term that was being used because when the settlers arrived, there was a really negative term and it’s called Burdoch.
And that was a term that was imposed on any gender and sexually diverse person. And it was used as like a, as a slur. So they were like, how do we get away from this damn slur? How do we get a word that’s going to empower us and, and support the growth of our community? So that’s kind of where a two-spirit spirit comes from.
De’Vannon: Oh, shit. I
Cheyenne: know even just that one question alone. Good luck.
De’Vannon: Well, the, the spectrum, all of that, but maybe you let me have it. And that’s [00:46:00]what dos, so when you say this, this lady who received the term two spirit and a vision was raising Piper, are you telling me she was smoking and getting high or something?
Was she smoking out of the pipe? Was that, is that what
Cheyenne: it is? Yeah, we don’t like throw like PCP or whatever in our pipes. Like, again, I don’t know what she does in her culture. She might use drugs in her, in her ceremonies. I don’t know, but generally a pipe ceremony a pipe is a sacred piece and a tobacco is a medicine in our culture.
And so when we put the tobacco tobacco into the pipe or communicating with creator, we’re communicating with our ancestors, we’re setting an intention in the circle and anybody that’s in that circle, you’re, you’re unified together. And it’s really just a way of bringing your prayer. Up and out, and as you smoke, you’re inhaling that medicine and you don’t have to inhale.
You can just hold the pipe to your heart or to your heads. But it’s just the process of being in a circle with each other in a ceremony with each other is really important.
De’Vannon: That’s sounds interesting. [00:47:00] Sounds very sincere, has a very sincere spirit about it. So you hear people like how Cheyenne is talking about.
The LGBTQ a to S conferences and things like that. I don’t, you know, there may come a time. I guess some conservative people might listen to my show. This is not a conservative show by any stretch of the fucking imagination, not even the least, but it is open to people who might be interested in ulterior or alternative perspectives other than their own.
So you see not everything about the gay culture is whatever it is. That’s bad about us, that they think we’re not just having origins and shooting up crystal meth and taking it up the ass all the time. You know, there’s conferences, there’s intelligent things that we do. We contribute to society. You know, I say that specifically because when I got kicked out of Lakewood church in Houston, Texas, we’re not being straight.
Once they found [00:48:00] out, you know, my MySpace page that I was hanging out with Montrose in the gay district and Houston, the lady from who was over the kids, quiet. I’ll never forget her fucking words, that fucking cunt. And and I only use con if it’s really warranted and she’s a fucking cunt and she was kicking me out, she was all like referring to the gay district of Houston.
She was like, you can’t be doing that. Hanging out there with those people.
Wait, wait, what the fuck do you think we’re doing? Oh, wait, you have never been okay.
Cheyenne: And it’s common here too. Like with specific, like, particularly with the two-spirit community a lot of that, like stigma and shame that people experienced and learned from the residential school system is like now in our own communities. So the work that we’re doing at Edmonton two-spirit society, Is really trying to reconnect to our own indigenous communities because the two S [00:49:00] LGBTQ community, they, they honor us.
They respect us. They brought us in, right. Like we don’t have to justify ourselves as much people don’t understand. So there’s still a lot of learning that has to happen. But in indigenous basis, they’re like, well, like there’s, these are new teachings. This two-spirit doesn’t even mean anything. It’s a new term.
You know, and like, like those you’re just gay. You’re just trans like, you know, there’s like almost like an alienation of us within our own indigenous spaces. And that’s like that whole residential school piece, that’s still coming from religion really.
De’Vannon: Okay. So explain to me the difference in between native American and Indian.
Cheyenne: Yeah. So I use the term native American partially because the term American is a colonial word. The idea that America is these three separate areas. Cause I also include south America as part of the America’s right. We use the term turtle island. And so turtle island is basically Canada [00:50:00] United States and all the way down from the top to the tip that’s turtle island.
And so we use that there’s there’s stories and beliefs around that, that I’m not going to get into very cultural stuff. But you know, turtle island the fact that we’re from this land. Predates the people who came and brought the term America to us. Right. And so here in Canada, a lot of people will say native or, or indigenous first nations, Maytee it?
They don’t really use native American up here. And I think that’s, again, that’s that, that separation of Canada versus America, right? Like we don’t see ourselves as, as American we’re Canadian. And so a lot of people, I can’t speak for all indigenous people. Obviously I’m one guy, like I’m just one person.
But for me personally, that’s how I perceive it. Is that like, I’m not from America, I’m from the land I’m from, I’m from this space. This is my home. And so I’m, I’m indigenous to this land. I’m from this land, this land is mine. And so I don’t see myself as an American or Canadian even I’m I’m, I’m Cree first and foremost.
I’m [00:51:00] Nikki out. That’s that’s the Cree word. How we say in the metalanguage
De’Vannon: NICU, here’s the people who know exactly who the fuck they are. No question was in your voice. You said. I know who the fuck I am.
Cheyenne: I’m I’m so grateful that I grew up in Canada of all the places in the world. I didn’t grow up knowing war. I didn’t grow up knowing, like I grew up in a home that was very violent. I grew up with abuse and, and not having a lot of money, but, you know, I was never starving. I didn’t have to struggle for water.
You know, like I don’t have to there’s things that like, that I’m privileged. I carry a lot of privilege being born in a country like Canada. And I honor that, and I recognize that, but I also honor and recognize the flip side of that, that being indigenous in Canada. Is meaning growing up in violence, that means you were born with grief because of the whole history.
Right. And we don’t have a say in [00:52:00] that. It wasn’t my choice. It wasn’t my decision to grow up with that pain and the violence in my family. Right. And that’s something that I’m actively working against to, to break that cycle and to, to live in what we say a good way. And yeah, so I, I, it’s taken a long time to know who I am and I’m still on that path.
I’m still on that journey, but I can say it with confidence, like, yeah, I’m, I’m indigenous and I’m, and I’m out of
De’Vannon: that. I own that. So indigenous is the purest. Form because when native American has the American in it, and what I’m hearing you say is, well, we not American because we were here first. So indigenous is really the purest of the two.
Cheyenne: don’t know purist. I don’t know if that’s the word that I would use, but for me personally, that’s how I, and again, you might talk to a different indigenous person, like, especially in, in America where they often refer themselves to Indian, like Indian is, is a, is a word that’s owned and used. And I don’t personally understand why they use that, particularly elders.
I think he was not in the states. Here that’s like a slur. Like it’s like, you know, the Indian act like it’s literally a part of our history that [00:53:00] is still controlling us, still defining us. Right. So like, I’m literally. In engulfed in Canadian politics just by being born, because I’m part of that document.
My life is guided by that document. Right. So Indian here has like a negative connotation. We don’t have typically use it. Native is like as a, a very common one, but I think indigenous is, is more and more being used.
De’Vannon: Okay. Tell me what is in between me.
Cheyenne: Yeah. So in between. Speaking for my own personal context.
Cause I can’t speak for all two-spirit people. And also recognizing that I’m not an elder or an old carrier the in between is just kind of how I’ve always seen myself. So we actually have eight genders in my culture. And you know, one of those genders is the in-between people. The test you went and walk and the tests you went and walk are a group of people who can like walk between men and women’s worlds.
You know, but they’re there in the center of it. And so my whole life, I was like, I don’t feel like quite like a man. [00:54:00] So quite like a woman, I didn’t have terms for gender growing up. I always kind of knew. I was like, like queer. Like I was, I was bisexual at 14. Like, you know, I was doing nothing. Now I identify as like, if I use a colonial term it’s more pansexual, right?
Like I’ve, but I never had language for gender growing up. And because I didn’t grow up in my culture, our family was so impacted by the residential school system that we didn’t grow up, going to ceremony. We went to like powwows and round dances, but I didn’t grow up on the land. I don’t know how to hunt.
I don’t know how to like, you know, like I, I’m not a pipe carrier. I don’t do any of these things. I’m just learning. And I’m just learning my traditional language now. But like, historically I’ve always felt like I’m just like in this, in this in-between space, I don’t know how else to describe it. Like, and I was also adopted at a young age, so it was adopted by my biological mom’s biological sister.
So I was raised by my aunt and uncle, and that’s where I love them. We’ve come past this now, but that’s where a lot of the violence that I was raised with came from them. And so my whole life I’ve been between my biological mom’s family and my [00:55:00] biological aunt’s family. And I’ve always felt like that in between person.
So when I started to go. Path of cultural reclamation and learning about my indigeneity from a Cree context. And I learned that there was a gen, like there’s a whole group of people that are honored for being in between of, of everything. And if you think of in Cree culture, we, we honor the circle, right?
Does the circle of life, the sun, the moon, we all know the circle. And so the in-between person is kind of in the center of the circle and it’s not like a power thing. It’s not like a privilege thing. It’s just a holding the balance. Right. And you need to have somebody there holding it all together.
So that’s kind of, for me, where it comes from being an being part of the in-between. But I think it really kind of is other people might have different perspectives of that.
De’Vannon: Okay. Thank you for that breakdown. The last definition I need from you is individually.
Cheyenne: Yeah. Okay. So when did you clear as another one of those ones?
So not all indigenous two-spirit or, sorry, let me start again. Not all indigenous people who identify as queer or trans are two-spirit and not all two-spirit people [00:56:00] identify as spiritual sense, right. It really is a very personal process and it really does depend on what your cultural teachings are and how you carry yourself.
And so indigent queer is another way of folks who maybe don’t feel tied to that two-spirit term indigent queer as a way of honoring their queerness and their indigeneity. So it’s just the two terms put together. I often include trans folks and other gender diverse folks within that label of queer, but you know, it doesn’t always fit so into, to queer and trans is kind of another thing.
It’s just, you know, colloquial language that we use when talking about. And I think it’s just kind of fun to saying, did you queer like, oh yeah,
De’Vannon: I’m thankful for all of the variety, you know, so no one’s left out and, you know, new terms of being. All the time. And so this, the beauty in this variety is something conservative assholes will never understand because they don’t have happiness residing inside of their hearts.
Cheyenne: Yeah. And that diversity, I think is really beautiful. Like I say, when I learned that there were eight genders in my, in my culture that like there’s so much [00:57:00] diversity and that, that alone in those teachings it, it it’s really empowering and uplifting to know that diversity is honored in my culture.
And as I was learning about like our indigenous language, I’m still very new in learning my language. But as I was learning Nikki hallway, when the, the Cree language I was asking about kinship terms because kinship and family is really important in our community. And so there’s words for like mother and father that are similar to aunt and uncle, but there’s also kinship terms for honoring diversity in relationships.
There was like kinship terms for multiple partners. And as a polyamorous person, I’m like even the diversity of how I love is honored in my language. And that’s beautiful to me. So I love diversity. I, and I’m so glad.
De’Vannon: You know, culture, this is not, you know, they embrace, you know, various sexual expressions
I mean, so I think like yeah, I, again, I can’t speak for every nation [00:58:00] because we’re not a monolithic group. And so I can only speak from a CRI perspective and from my own personal learnings. Diversity of so far. And, but there is an individual, his name is Harlan Pruden, highly recommend you look into his work.
He’s done a lot of research around language, indigenous languages around the world, not just in turtle island, but around the world that honors gender diversity. And there’s over 130 unique terms for gender in different nations around the world. And that for me is like, again, beauty is that that diversity has always been there.
And I think even though that’s talking more specifically about gender, I think we can look at it from a sexuality perspective as well, because if you’re in a gender split a particular gender role or filling a gender role in your, your community, but you’re also representing as a different gender, right?
Like if you’re a born male and you’re presenting as female and living as a, as a female you’re already engaging in sexuality practices depending on who your partner is. Right. So it’s a little complex, like the whole idea of being two-spirit isn’t like [00:59:00] cut and dry. A lot of people just expect like a really.
Standard explanation. But it’s, it’s really complicated and it really depends on what nation you’re coming from. So again, I can’t speak for all Tewksbury people or all sexualities or all genders. But that’s my learnings as I’ve received it so far. So you
De’Vannon: said Europe, people CRE have eight genders.
Was that some of the ones we were just talking about? Yeah. So
Cheyenne: I, I’m not going to go into too much cultural stuff because we have processes and what we call protocol for sharing deeper cultural traditions and practices and the learnings. And so there needs to be us a particular exchange of tobacco and intentions to be able to share some of those cultural teachings.
So I’m not going to get into all of the genders. I’m not going to break it all down. But yes, there are eight very specific genders and in those genders are men and women as well. And each of those genders have their own teachings and their own roles and responsibilities in, in our society.
De’Vannon: So you’re saying like, I would have to be in grafted in to your culture.
In order to gain this knowledge is do y’all take in different people at times [01:00:00] they have to be born into it. Or how does that
Cheyenne: work? Yeah. So being two-spirit spirit is like bias for us. Like if you’re not indigenous, you cannot be two-spirit there’s other names and ways of living and being, and knowing that you can take claim to.
So if you’re not indigenous, please don’t take claim to being two-spirit. If you are indigenous, we encourage you to req like reconnect your own tea. Like, so I use like you have some indigeneity in you finding out what your tribe is or your nation that you are coming from. And then connecting with them.
But in my culture, if, if somebody like comes in a good way and brings tobacco and wants to sit with me and learn with me, I’ll share what I know. As long as I know that they’re not going to take that for profit. They’re not going to go and try and teach those teachings to other people. If they’re there just to learn and engage.
And that’s like a, a reciprocal relationship. And they’ve offered tobacco. They’ve shown me, they have good intentions and they’re not just going to take this teachings and then try to share it with the whole world. Right. So just because you’re being shared cultural teachings doesn’t mean that it’s yours to then use, however you wish
De’Vannon: I would [01:01:00] be afraid of the bad karma that would come upon me.
If I went and go and black, you know, what happened to somebody if they were to dishonor the agreement?
Cheyenne: Yeah, I think that would be between them and creator.
De’Vannon: Don’t do it. Y’all if you get something about it, don’t tell nobody that’s your other. Just keep it to yourself.
So. But the you, that you verify the person’s identity, check their background, to be sure before you share anything like that, or do you just kind of go on how you vibe and how you feel about them?
Cheyenne: Yeah. Again, recognizing that I’m not an altar and I’m not an knowledge carrier, so I’m not liking engaging some of these deeper cultural teachings that I’m giving to other people yet.
But I do get a lot of people coming to me just because of my role at the Edmonton two-spirit society. I was the community liaison who does community education and hold ceremony. You know, I do get people coming to me and usually you can feel it out. Like if somebody is like pride month, next month in June in [01:02:00] Canada is indigenous history month and pride month.
So it’s both. So it’s really, it’s like our month next month just saying but that’s a month where you can really weed out who was there to check off a checklist and who’s there to actually meaningfully and willingfully learn from you and grow with you. It kind of is a vibe thing, I guess. But there is a big issue right now here in Canada of what work we’re calling pretend DNS.
So non-indigenous people who are claiming indigeneity and then entering into spaces and like entering into like politics entering into academia to, to the entertainment industry, even, and feigning being indigenous and, and, and receiving power and privilege based off of that claim. They’re starting to be found out there’s more and more people who are coming out now.
Like now that’s what we’re calling a pretending. They’re not actually really indigenous. So I don’t believe in blood, quantum blood, quantum being like how much indigenous of your, how much, what percentage of your blood is indigenous. But if you can show like, [01:03:00] Hey, this is the nation that I come from and I didn’t grow up there, but here’s how I’m engaging with my community.
And here’s the questions I have. Like for me, if you went to my reserve, they not going to know who I am, because I didn’t grow up there. Right. But I’m doing everything I can here in Edmonton to re-engage with elders and ceremony and learn in a good way. So yeah. I don’t know if that answers your question a bit of a convoluted way of answering it, but I, again, it is individual specific and you can, but I, I think you can tell when someone’s coming with bad intentions or someone’s coming with like, you know, capitalistic intentions you can feel that sort of thing, but with the amount of pretending things that are being found in our communities, maybe it’s not so easy to tell.
I don’t know.
De’Vannon: Yeah, thank you for bearing with me. You know, as you’re overcoming pelvis, we have one more thing to talk
Cheyenne: about before we wrap I’m enjoying the conversation.
De’Vannon: I am too. I’m going to be sad when this one’s over. Talk about media under-representation for indigenous peoples. I read this [01:04:00] article probably on LGBTQ nation or queer tea.
One of them I think, is where I got this article from. And it’s about a model helping them as of her name. I think it’s quantitating, horse fun chasing horse. And when I read this, you know, I’m thinking, as I’m thinking about it today is reminding me of like how down here in the states, they’ll get these white people to play roles that are not white.
So, so you have a white person playing like a samurai in an Asian movie or white person playing. An indigenous person in like
Cheyenne: you know, Voyager, sorry, little star Trek nerd there.
De’Vannon: No, like, like, like, like white people. I mean, you’re exactly right. Like these white people or like shape-shifters who can, they can play anything. They can play. Jesus, Jesus. Wasn’t from the middle east. He wasn’t fucking white, but there should never have been a white haired blue Jesus [01:05:00] never, ever, no white people do not come from the middle east.
And so this idea that white people can just take over anything in is presented to the masses. Like we’re supposed to accept it without question. Okay. Speak so much, so much against Whitey. You know, I know not all white people are assholes. I know a lot of white people who cannot stand their families.
They’re like, my family is fucking racist. I fucking can’t stand them. They’re just like shit. And they make us all look bad. So I know it’s not all of you, white people, but I got damn as a lot of you who are just hateful assholes. And so in terms of media, what happened with this with, with, with this girl here, besides the, for our own personal issues that she goes into great detail in this article, she she works with designers and everything like that, who support indigenous people in sustainability.
And she said, when she was growing up, she felt she didn’t feel represented in [01:06:00] mainstream media. So that made her think she was pretty because she never saw someone with her, like saying face on the television. So speak to me about how this has affected your community because. You know, it took us a while to just start getting black people in a lot of movies, but there were no indigenous people.
How did that make y’all feel left out? How did it affect you?
Cheyenne: Yeah, growing up because I was growing up in you know, in like a, an urban setting. I didn’t grow up on the reserve. I didn’t grow up around my culture. But I knew I was indigenous. Right. But like, as I said, I don’t know my biological dad’s, so there’s a whole, like part of my cultural identity.
That’s just like, you know, I don’t take claim to generic whiteness. And wait for me is like capital white TM. Like when you get those really hateful, you know those people that you were just describing, that’s like a, it’s like a certain subsection of white people. Anyways, I digress when I was growing up, I never saw myself on TV.
I never saw myself [01:07:00] represented in media. And it’s only been honestly in the last couple of years as a two-spirit queer indigenous person that I’ve seen myself in the media. And I can honestly say. I think I have three representations of myself in the media, that’s it? And that’s not a lot. And two of them are from reality shows.
So they’re actually, you know, the amazing race Canada, Dr. James and his husband, Anthony Johnson you know, good friends of mine, they won the amazing race. And that was the first time we saw indigenous people in a reality show like that. And then there’s alone of early seeing alone of early on Canada’s drag race.
That was the first two-spirit indigenous person to be on drag race. That was the first time I ever saw. And as a drag artist, now I do drag myself tugs Cucina on Instagram, or just drop that there. When I started doing drag, you know, it was like, I could turn to Alona as being one of the only representations in mass media and mainstream media of two-spirit people.
Right. So like, it is complicated and it is difficult. [01:08:00] And it, it, it, it’s hard to see yourself as being a valid person when all of your media is whitewashed. Right. And now, again, we’re seeing a little bit more of that diversity, more indigenous casting. If you haven’t heard of the show reservation dogs, I really recommend you check it out.
It’s a really wonderful show about. Group of youth. And now we can see ourselves. My youth that I work with in community can watch that show and see somebody who’s from Alberta and see the way she talks and see the way she looks and be like, that person looks like me, you know? And so I think it’s important, not just within a media context, but in it representation all across the board representation in politics, you know, we have Blake Desjarlais, he’s a two-spirit member of parliament, the very first two-spirit person to be in that position in Canada.
You know, seeing ourselves, even in politics. Now I see myself in the parliamentary building and that’s something that never happened before. So I think representation is really important. I think [01:09:00]kids deserve to see that they’re valid, that they belong to different spaces that aren’t just indigenous, that we can integrate into mainstream society while still walking in our cultural path.
Right. And there’s a, there’s a term called two eyed seeing and it’s a term by, I think it’s. Marshall that developed the term. And it’s the idea of walking within a Western world while also holding onto indigenous knowledges and ways of being, and knowing, and find a balance of the two and seeing the world through both of these lenses.
And then I think that’s representation in a nutshell, right? We need to be able to see ourselves. We need to be able to represent ourselves and, and, and honor that so more and more it’s happening. It’s great to see people on TV, great to see representations of indigenous people that aren’t stereotypes.
Right. Because that’s, the other thing is when we do see ourselves on TV, it’s a very. Hey a whole, how, you know, like there, this is like, even on star Trek, I’m a huge star checker. I love star Trek, but star Trek worked with one of those pretending I worked with the [01:10:00] person who pretended to be indigenous.
And if you watch Voyager, that whole show is like really bad, stereotypical representation of indigeneity. And that’s how we see ourselves on TV, right? Like that’s like, historically, like that’s not fun or kinder or, or uplifting or empowering. Right. It’s just like, I don’t see myself in that person. So I think representation is really important that I’m really proud of people.
Like Quana, I’m really proud of you know, these folks who are breaking down barriers and saying. Fuck your beauty standards. I’m gorgeous. And she’s got her traditional tattoos on her face. She is rocking her indigeneity on her face, and now there’s people like trying to make replicas of like attachments that they can put on their chin, like so that they can imitate her indigeneity, which is wrong.
You shouldn’t be. Like that’s cultural, not ceremonial for her. She might’ve gone through a process to receive the teachings around that tattoo. It’s, it’s a very personal thing that she did to be able to get that tattoo on her face. And so for someone to then create a replica of it without understanding [01:11:00]the cultural meaning of it, right?
So that’s the other side of representation that we’re now going to have to deal with is people then taking aesthetically, our cultures and our ceremonies and using it, how they want. So is representation always good? Not necessarily. There there’s a certain amount of education and learning that needs to come along with that representation.
So people like Quanta have an opportunity to engage the world in this learning. And I’m proud of her. I hope she kicks everybody’s butt out there. She’s beautiful. This, we can all be that beautiful.
De’Vannon: Beautiful. And I heard you say you did drag, so be sure. Did you email me or. Your associate that I could include that in the show notes,
Cheyenne: I have a newbie drag drag performer.
I just started doing drag last year, but, you know, I mentioned the loan early and I get to open for a loner next month. And I’m really excited. I got to perform alongside her. And so seeing her on TV and then getting into drag myself and being like, this is a person that I can look up to. We used a professional platform.
Yeah, it’s really cool. [01:12:00] So yeah, tugs Cucina is my, is my drag name. Yeah.
De’Vannon: Send me that information and I will put it in the show notes and we’ll do what we can. So then the last thing I want you to just explain to us is what the Edmonton two spirit society is. How was about your website? Who do you work for?
Cheyenne: Yeah, so the Edmonton two-spirit society is what we call an intergenerational organization. And what that means is there were working groups in our city that laid a plot or laid a foundation of the work that we’re doing now. So what we do is we work with two-spirit and other indigenous queer and trans folks, but folks who are questioning primarily that’s the folks that we work with of all ages, we work from zero to any age, really.
And our whole goal is. Two-spirit people reintegrate back into indigenous communities, but also into contemporary society. We really want to see indigenous people have an opportunity to re reignite their passion for their cultural language to [01:13:00] basically have connection to culture ceremony and also to have connection to a community of other like-minded individuals.
So we kind of do a lot. We’re a very small organization right now. There’s only two of us actually, it’s the executive director and then myself. And I do a little bit of everything, so I help run our membership. We have like registered members and then we have non-registered members that we work with.
We do, yeah, we set up ceremonies. We set up like social activities. I do suicide and crisis intervention. I do referrals for mental health support. I do harm reduction support for a local organization. We offer elders connection to elders. We also offer community education. So we go into schools, organizations, businesses, and teach all about what it is to be to spirit and kind of share some of this knowledge that I’ve shared with you.
We do inclusivity training, that sort of thing. Talk about decolonization. So really just trying [01:14:00] to connect to spirit people, but also non two-spirit people to these teachings into this understanding. So we kind of do a lot yeah, that’s, that’s a little bit about us. We are only in our second year of funding, so we’re quite a small new organization.
We’re still figuring ourselves out. We are currently unhoused. We don’t currently have an office which is kind of a big issue for us at the. We are looking for a space that will allow us to be able to do ceremony in it and lift the pipe and, and bring people in, in a safe, good way. And we just haven’t had found a spot for that yet.
So we’re on the hunt for a new home but we do have our website dot CA you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Twitter and it’s just Edmonton two-spirit society. And yeah, I folks have questions or comments concerns. If they’re looking to connect to other two-spirit communities, there’s a few two-spirit communities in the states.
So we can also help connect folks to somebody in their area, or maybe even help folks figure out how to set up a two-spirit [01:15:00] space in their community as well. That’s kind of our longterm goal is helping set up more two-spirit hubs in Northern Canada. So Edmonton two-spirit society is the most Northern organization in the whole world.
And we serve everybody from Edmonton basically. And so it’s a lot of work. There’s a lot of individuals out there who aren’t receiving services. And so we’re hoping to kind of fill that gap until they. And set something up in their own community. So a little bit of a long-winded answer about who we are, but essentially we are just really trying to make sure that indigenous folks know that they’re loved and that they have a space in our circle that they’re welcomed, that they’re valid.
And that we’re going to be here for them as much as we can. So
De’Vannon: amen and amen to that. Well, do you have any last words you’d like to say to the world, to the United States, to Canada, to Edmonton, and you can say whatever you want to say.
Cheyenne: My biggest thing is like really just take the time to get to know the people who are around [01:16:00] you. Don’t take claim to something that’s not yours.
Hold space for people who need it to check in on your two-spirit friends and relatives. You know, it’s hard to. For everybody, not just for queer and trans people, but it’s hard out there right now for literally everybody. So just like show some kindness to each other and to yourselves. And remember that two-spirit is bias for us.
So please don’t take claim to something that is not culturally something that is okay for you to take lean to if that makes sense and live long and prosper,
De’Vannon: hallelujah, tabernacle and praise. We’ve enjoyed the lovely Ms. Cheyenne Mikko queue. And we will look forward to the release this episode, thank you for your time and for your spirit.
And I respect you and I respect your people greatly
Cheyenne: can the national committee now. Wow. That’s a, a Cree verb. That means I am grateful to you all. And Keenan asking me to, and I’m grateful to you. Hi. Hi. Thank you.
De’Vannon: Thank you all [01:17:00] so much for taking time to listen to the sex drugs and Jesus podcast. It really means everything to me. Look, if you love the show, you can find more information and resources at sex, drugs, and jesus.com or wherever you listen to your podcast. Feel free to reach out to me directly at DeVannon@SexDrugsAndJesus.com and on Twitter and Facebook as well.
My name is De’Vannon and it’s been wonderful being your host today and just remember that everything is going to be all right.