(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

UPDATE: Fast-burning construction materials fuelled Willow Point blaze – fire chief

Curious onlookers created challenges for emergency crews; fundraising effort underway for family

Howie Meeker Campbell River Special Olympics golf classic welcomes new co-host

30th annual event pays tribute to 94-year-old namesake

UPDATED: Zeballos wildfire not getting any closer to town – BC Wildfire Service

About 64 wildfires burning north of Campbell River on Tuesday

Foul play not suspected in man’s death in Chemainus

Long attempt made to revive unidentified person on the dock

Strathcona Regional District wants water meters for northern Area D

Meters just part of plan, along with education and enforcement, to reduce use

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort found guilty of eight charges

A mistrial has been declared for the other 10 charges against him

Canada’s team chasing elusive gold medal at women’s baseball World Cup

Canada, ranked No. 2 behind Japan, opens play Wednesday against No. 10 Hong Kong

Former B.C. detective gets 20 months in jail for kissing teen witnesses

James Fisher, formerly with Vancouver police department, pleaded guilty to three charges in June

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark criticizes feds for buying pipeline

The $4.5 billion purchase of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline second worst decision, she said

New B.C. Hydro electric car chargers launch on Vancouver Island

Fast-chargers to reduce ‘range anxiety’ for B.C. electric car drivers

‘Takes more courage to fail’: B.C. ultra-marathon swimmer reflects on cancelled try at record

Susan Simmons halted her swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back because of hypothermia

Animals moved from B.C. Interior shelters to make way for pets displaced by wildfires

The Maple Ridge SPCA houses animals to make space for pets evacuated from B.C.’s burning interior.

$21.5 million medical pot plant to be built in B.C.

The facility is to be built in Princeton

Most Read