In 2016, the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls took place to examine and report on this violence against Indigenous women and girls. Since then, books have been published about the families affected by these crimes, as well as the stories of investigations that took place. These truths should not be forgotten.
Before contact with colonizers, Two Spirit individuals were trusted and integral members of Indigenous communities. These Indigenous people identified as neither female nor male, but rather transcended the binary of gender, with many communities recognizing multiple genders. They were often seen as healers, teachers, spiritual leaders and medicine people. Being able to relate to both male and female perspectives, they would mediate conflict. Inclusiveness and acceptance in the community allowed for Two Spirit individuals to fulfill unique roles. However, colonization disrupted—and continues to disrupt—how Two Spirit people are viewed both inside and outside Indigenous communities.
BYGONE BROTHELS AND THE WOMEN WHO RAN THEM
If you hear the term ‘Elizabethan brothel’ and think of luxurious manors and salacious sin dressed up in jewels, you can thank Elizabeth Holland. This determined and glamorous madam helped transform London’s underground prostitution into an industry that entertained royalty.
Intersectionality acknowledges that no one is any one thing, and various facets of identity can combine to change how someone sees and interacts with the world. And they’re worth reading for reasons beyond being able to slap a label—BIPOC, gay, disabled, all of the above—on the author or characters, and worth more than serving as a tool for readers to congratulate themselves for reading “diversely.” Read these books because they are great stories that expand your understanding of the human experience.
Bear explains that some people like to think of Indigenous communities as something from the past or, as author Thomas King called it, “the dead Indian,” a stereotype of the Indigenous person living in a teepee with a headdress on, dancing around a flame. However, Bear believes that once viewers see Indigenous people as a modern culture—as the opposite of the dead Indian—they get upset. Bear feels hopeful about their impact within the community, and that their content sheds light on underrepresented authors, books and content creators.