By Ma-Nee Chacaby, Mary Louisa Plummer
As a toddler, Chacaby realized religious and cultural traditions from her Cree grandmother and trapping, looking, and bush survival talents from her Ojibwa stepfather. She additionally suffered actual and sexual abuse through various adults, and by way of her teenager years she was once alcoholic herself. At twenty, Chacaby moved to Thunder Bay along with her young ones to flee an abusive marriage. Abuse, compounded via racism, endured, yet Chacaby stumbled on helps to assist herself and others. Over the next many years, she completed sobriety; expert and labored as an alcoholism counselor; raised her childrens and fostered many others; realized to dwell with visible impairment; and got here out as a lesbian. In 2013, Chacaby led the 1st homosexual satisfaction parade in her followed urban, Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Ma-Nee Chacaby has emerged from difficulty grounded in religion, compassion, humor, and resilience. Her memoir offers unheard of insights into the demanding situations nonetheless confronted by way of many Indigenous people.
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Extra info for A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder
When I was young, I often played alone. I made up my own games. I loved standing in the middle of a field of tall grasses to listen as they rustled and made music in the wind. I would brush the grasses to my front and sides to hear what different sounds they made. I enjoyed hearing tree leaves rubbing together, wood crackling as it burned, and water dripping or rippling in streams. Underneath a beautiful boulder, I discovered a hidden spot where I could listen to the wind whistling like music. That place gave me joy and comfort for many years.
At times my grandmother also went to services at the Catholic and Protestant churches. She enjoyed the celebrations and socializing that could happen there. My kokum said that white people believed their God lived in a house, but she did not believe that. She instead believed that Gitchi Manitou (the Great Spirit) lived everywhere. Still, my grandmother told me that we should be respectful whenever we visited church, and that we should listen and always try to find at least one good thing in the minister’s sermon to take away to use in our own lives.
In the end I learned to speak Cree with my grandmother, my uncle Jacques, and my mother. When I was seven years old, my mom married an Ojibwa man, and he began to teach me Ojibwe numbers and other words. The fact that I couldn’t speak Ojibwe or Cree set me apart from other children in my early years. I was different in other ways too. I had a lot of energy, and I had a hard time keeping still. I ran away from situations I didn’t like. And I refused to wear skirts like other girls. Instead, I would strip off my skirt and run around just wearing my heavy bloomers, which were held up by a string, a safety pin, or a belt.
A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder by Ma-Nee Chacaby, Mary Louisa Plummer