It was a very windy day on Saturday May 23rd when I met a group of two-spirit drummers and singers at the riverbank in Prince Albert. We were all given a tobacco tie by Jennifer Brockman, who had put this drum group together, and made our way to the boat launch where we said a prayer at the river and offered our tobacco into the water.
I was only there to film and get an interview, but the dynamic was so inclusive, that I wished I could be drumming with them, but that was not my job for the day. I did, however, get to listen up close to a beautiful song.
Jennifer Brockman had submitted a proposal to Global Pride for a micro-grant to film the drumming and make a 5-minute video. A proposal, which Brockman was told, had won by a landslide.
“There’s a call-out from Global Pride for video submissions,” Brockman said. “For virtual pride. Which will be on June 27th. And Moose Jaw Pride and Saskatchewan Pride Network did a call-out for two-spirit and trans communities to create a video with a theme of belonging, that we belong here. And so, a group of us got together and created a video on that theme, but we decided to create a video for healing with our two-spirit drummers and singers and a dancer, a chicken dancer to, to not use this video just for creating awareness, but also to send those vibrations that we’re creating with the song and the drumming and the dancing, so that it can go out to everybody that needs it… to create those circles of belonging.”
People often talk about sending out vibrations when dancing or singing, but what does that mean?
Sounds produce certain frequencies and our bodies react to those frequencies. Everything in life has a vibration, like a person’s voice, or a stick hitting a drum, and our bodies react positively to vibrations that come from nature, such as the sound of waves from the ocean or birds singing.
And that’s why people all over North America have been dancing and singing, to send out healing vibrations to those who have become sick and to keep those who haven’t gotten sick, healthy.
This group had also sung and drummed for Global Pride day, which will be on June 27th. Because of the pandemic, there can’t be any large gatherings, so Global Pride is holding a virtual pride where all of their content will be live-streamed on Facebook.
After singing their song in all four directions, everyone made a ‘call to action’, where they stated what kind of change they want to see. From creating safe spaces at eventssang to acknowledging that all people have special gifts, no matter who they are.
From there everyone made their way to the Prince Albert Multicultural Council where the group sung their song again and a chicken dancer, in his colourful regalia, danced.
“For me as a two-spirit person, although I stand with pride in who I am, sometimes it hasn’t always been easy finding those places of belonging,” Brockman said. “I wanted to be part of this project to let others know that, that they do belong and that they do matter and that we’re all part of this circle, and uh, I wanted to maybe help someone or others who are not accepted for who they are. Just by us getting together and saying that they do belong here.”
LGBTQ+ people are 4 times more likely to die by suicide than their heterosexual counterparts and more than half of transgender people suffer from depression and/or anxiety.
Although we are currently in a time where people are becoming more accepting of LGBTQ+ people, there are still many people across the country and the world, who are not accepted for who they truly are and worry that they never will be. There are still transgender people who are murdered simply because they are transgender and that absolutely needs to stop.
Acceptance and equality were the main focus for the drumming group’s call to action.
“Part of his video also has a call out for action,” Brockman said. “And by that, the participants of this video were able to share a few words on inviting others to take action to create circles of belonging and whatever way that means. And so, everybody spoke to what they felt belonging meant and what they would like to see happening within the communities. And I think that’s an important part of this video, is for people to realize that they can, that we can all do more. And that these call to actions are coming from voices of the community saying what we need and what we need people to do and what we need community leaders to do. And that’s what those calls to actions are, is to hear what our voices are and what we’re asking for and to then take it upon yourselves to do it.”
Brockman’s call to action was to remind her two-spirit relatives that they have a place of belonging, to stand up for themselves, and to love themselves no matter what. All wise words for people who may be going through a time of confusion or who may not feel accepted in their community.
The video has to go through a process to be accepted and if it is, it will be streamed on June 27th along with other content that had been submitted to Global Pride 2020.
More information on the event can be found at www.globalpride2020.org and at Facebook under the name Global Pride 2020.