Finding Pride in Indigenous and Two-Spirit Identity
Q&A’s with Pasha Saulis
Where are you from? What place do you currently call home and why?
I’m from a small rural First Nations community of Tobique First Nations Also know as the Wokastoqwayik or the people of the beautiful river.
What are you passionate about? What are your hobbies?
I enjoy gardening, hiking, reading and trying poetry. I’m passionate about learning to become self-sufficient and connecting with the land.
I’m passionate about Creating safe spaces for Two-Spirit peoples. Decolonizing the belief systems about who Two-Spirit people are and regaining their place within community. Advocating for the needs of disadvantaged peoples through the work I do in my community as a social worker.
How did the idea for this project come to you?
My colleague and I were offered a wonderful opportunity to learn how to bead eagle feathers from a community member’s parent who participates in our Two-Spirit group.
What was your motivation behind this project?
The motivation behind the project is to connect Two-Spirit people with their culture. Finding pride in their Indigenous and Two-Spirit identity through cultural practices. Through the impacts of colonization we have been stripped our beliefs and understandings for our Two-Spirit peoples, their place in community and we work towards redefining that meaning again.
How did your community react to your project? Have they been encouraged to get involved in any other ways?
We have a huge turn out! It was a wonderful 5 week project that our members were able to participate in a cultural activity.
In retrospect, what was the impact of your project?
It brought us together, created a safe space for us to engage in our culture.
How has the project impacted you in your everyday life?
I learned through this project that beading is medicine. It brings about a calmness, a stillness and an ability to connect with self.
Were there some bumps along the road or things you may do differently in the future?
Mistakes were made but we grew and we learned along the way. No regrets.
What would you say to a youth who is thinking about doing a #RisingYouth project?
Absolutely do it! It’s allows for youth to create passion project and be leaders in those own communities.