(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

Video: Snow Pitch Tournament a home run

Teams competed for softball supremacy on the snow-covered Finlayson Park ball diamonds

Okanagan Military Tattoo returns

Performances July 28 and July 28

Update: Proposed medical building in Sicamous to be called Shuswap Healing Centre

The District of Sicamous is applying for $6 million in grant funding to go towards the project

Vehicle leaves road at Balmoral intersection near Blind Bay

A tow truck arrived to remove the vehicle at approximately 4:30 p.m.

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Fairly clear skies are forecasted over the Shuswap as a rare celestial event plays out above

REPLAY: B.C’s best videos this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

World economy forecast to slow in 2019 amid trade tensions

For Canada, the IMF’s estimate for growth in 2019 was 1.9 per cent, down from expected global growth of 3.5 per cent

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

The Okanagan Death Café returns for another season

The event allows participants to explore the topic of death, discuss wills and listen to each other

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Crash closes Coquihalla southbound lane south of Merritt

Accident occurred approximately 26 kilometres south of Merritt

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Most Read