(From left) Chevi Rabbit, a human rights activist and Maskwacis Two Spirit Committee president, and Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation band councillor unveil a rainbow crosswalk in Maskwacis Wednesday. Photo supplied

First rainbow crosswalk on First Nation reserve in Canada unveiled

More than 15 volunteers painted the colourful crosswalk in front of Samson Cree Nation

A rainbow crosswalk in Alberta might be the first one on a First Nations reserve in Canada.

More than 15 volunteers painted the colourful crosswalk on Wednesday in front of Samson Cree Nation administration building to celebrate Pride Month.

At the unveiling in Maskwacis, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vernon Saddleback said he wants the community to be a safe haven for everyone – regardless of religious beliefs or sexual orientation.

“I have a niece who is gay. She just came out. It’s her first pride parade this year,” said Saddleback. “She has finally come out, I’m really happy for her.”

Chevi Rabbit, Two Spirit Committee president, said the crosswalk is a milestone and vital for the Maskwacis community. The Maskwacis Two Spirit Committee, represents the four nations in Maskwacis.

She said the rainbow represents the LGBTQ2S community in all four nations which form Maskwacis even though the rainbow crosswalk is in Samson Cree Nation.

Rabbit, a human rights activist, who was recognized by Premier Rachel Notley in December, said there are many LGBTQ2S community members who live a closeted life in the community.

“I would say we have a very high LGBTQ2S population – they’re really timid and shy,” said Rabbit, a former Red Deer College student.

Rabbit said she knows of at least 50 to 60 people who are LGBTQ2S or “Two Spirited” in Maskwacis, and believes there are more.

“The symbolism of having this crosswalk front and centre is signalling to the community that Two Spirit culture has arrived and we’re back and we’re here and we’re going to make ourselves heard,” said the 32-year-old.

Rabbit, who moved back to Maskwacis in December from Edmonton, was referring to celebrating the LGBTQ2S community – something that was common in the the Aboriginal culture in the past.

Katherine Swampy, a Samson Cree Nation band councillor explained “Two Spirited” people were accepted and celebrated in the culture and were looked up with high regard.

“They were said to have Two Spirit – to be able to see through a male lens and a female lens and they had a spirit guiding them through life or watching over them,” said Swampy.

“And when the settlers came they were the first one to be abolished.”

Rabbit said with the rainbow crosswalk, the hope is LGBTQ2S or “Two Spirited” people in Maskwacis feel included and welcome in the community.

“It’s a way of showing people ‘yes you’re welcome here and this is a safe zone. Its not something you have to worry about. Its an inclusive community,’” said the local politician.

Swampy said she believes the rainbow crosswalk in support of the LGBTQ2S community in Maskwacis is the first because she has not heard of any others throughout Canada.



mamta.lulla@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

A volunteer paints a rainbow crosswalk in Maskwacis Wednesday. Photo supplied

(From left) Chevi Rabbit, a human rights activist and Maskwacis Two Spirit Committee president, and Samson Cree Nation Chief Vernon Saddleback at the unveiling of a rainbow crosswalk in Maskwacis. Photo supplied

Volunteers painted and unveiled of a rainbow crosswalk in Maskwacis Wednesday. Photo supplied

(Middle) Chevi Rabbit, a human rights activist and Maskwacis Two Spirit Committee president, along with volunteers at the unveiling of a rainbow crosswalk in Maskwacis Wednesday. Photo supplied

More than 15 volunteers were painting a rainbow crosswalk in Maskwacis Wednesday. Photo supplied

Just Posted

FOLLOW-UP: Shelley Downey speaks on her Conservative candidacy

“I anticipate requesting a leave of absence from Port McNeill council,” Downey said.

B.C. to move salmon farms out of coastal migration route

Broughton Archipelago plan set to start in spring of 2019

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

Mount Washington opening for winter season this weekend

The resort’s original opening day was delayed due to lack of snow

Shoebox Project: Local women in need to enjoy shoebox gifts

This year over 500 gift filled Shoeboxes were delivered in Campbell River and the North Island.

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

‘I practically begged’: Kootenay woman with breast cancer denied referral to Calgary

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

Most Read