HAPPY PRIDE & INDIGENOUS PEOPLES MONTH!
I can’t believe we are halfway through June already! My pup Coal and I have returned to the big city and have been adjusting to life here in Toronto instead of at the lake. I’m so grateful for the time away, it was definitely needed. It’s a really busy time of year for my little business and it’s nice to feel that “hustle energy” that Toronto provides so I can work my way through all the requests! My lovely assistant Fatimah will talk about the projects we’ve been working on a little further down this newsletter.
As much as it’s Pride month here in Toronto, it’s also National Indigenous Peoples month. Both are identities that I’m so happy to embody. I didn’t realize this early on when I was first starting my business just how much of an asset to my success that those two parts of myself would become. On both sides of the coin, I am what my Ojibway ancestors, and the LGBTQ2 activists were fighting for. It wasn’t that long ago where if you were either and Indigenous person or a gay person, you were barred from owning a business!
Pride and Indigenous peoples month for me is becoming more of a time to really think about the work I’m doing in these communities. Is it impactful enough, how can I make it better? This month I got to speak to a lot of different students from all over north western Ontario about my role as an Indigenous artist, but also my experience as a young gay man that grew up in a small town.
I think as I get older, and I reflect on my life, the purpose of PRIDE becomes more and more important to me. I came out at 20, but I knew I was different when I was 4 years old. I didn’t have the words for it back then, but I knew. I tried my best to hide who I was until was finished high school and could leave! I counted the days, weeks and months until it was time and never looked back. It wasn’t all bad, but it wasn’t all good, and sometimes it was spirit crushing to be made fun of for something that I couldn’t control. Pride celebrations mean something different to everyone, but for me I think they’re such important demonstrations to have because no kid should ever have to be ashamed of who they are. No kid should grow up not wanting to go to school because they’re different, and no kid should be counting the days until they can leave their community in the north, just to be able to breath a fucking sigh of relief that the mental and physical torture is over.
For me, that’s why Pride is important. Deep within out diversity, is our common humanity. Who ever tried to do away with empathy was dead wrong, we need it more and more. And we also need more allies like you reading this! :)
I’ll leave it there for now. Instead of celebrating Canada Day next month, I’ll be celebrating Indigenous peoples month 2.0, where I’ll talk a lot more about all things Ojibway and art, with a little bit of heart :)
Happy PRIDE everyone! Have the best time!