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OTTAWA, ONTungasuvvingat Inuit (TI), an Inuit programs and services provider serving the needs of urban Inuit in Ontario will be hosting a first-ever, Inuit and Indigenous queer-fronted 2SLGBTQ++ drop in space in Ottawa. The space will be known as the Arsaniq (Northern Lights) Drop-In. The space is open to the Inuit community to join in for discussions, workshops, and activities centered around what it means to be a proud member of the Inuit 2SLGBTQ++ community.

Jennifer Chafe, Manager, Ilagiiqatigiitsiarniq (formerly Family Well-Being) stated, “Sexual diversity has historically been the norm, not the exception, among Indigenous peoples. For many Indigenous peoples across the world, diverse sexualities and multiple genders was not introduced by the western world.

Indigenous sexualities matter beyond sexual politics because they expand on the political imagination, not sexual vocabularies. It is not the decolonization of Indigenous lifeways alone that is at stake. This safe space for the urban Inuit community will allow for discussions and engagement amongst the Inuit 2SLGBTQ++ community.”

TI is one of the only Inuit-specific service organization of its kind in urban Canada offering support through a person’s entire life cycle- and is a respected leader for Inuit-specific service delivery. TI is proud to introduce our Arsaniq (Northern Lights) Drop-In. Arsaniq is the first of its kind Inuit and Indigenous queer-fronted Inuit-specific space for people who identify as 2SLGBTQ++.

Chafe added, “Indigenous 2SLGBTQ++ people are more likely to experience violence than heterosexual Indigenous peoples. We’re talking about the marginalized of the marginalized. Twice as many are likely to experience assault, including physical and sexual assault than non-Indigenous LGBTQ++. The lack of 2SLGBTQ++ supports and resources for identifying Indigenous peoples, or previous negative experiences with health services, can erode an individual’s trust in health care services and lead to feelings of shame and disentitlement; as a result, the individual may not seek help when needed.”

We’re often left wondering how the Northern Lights shine so brightly. Their beauty and power have formed remarkable myths and legends across the world and there are few cultures who experience the northern lights as consistently as Inuit. Amongst Inuit, there is a legend that the northern lights are the ancestors that are dancing and playing games in the sky. Arsaniq Drop-in provides a safe space for urban 2SLGBTQ++ Inuit to shine bright, show their beauty and power, and dance among their ancestors.

Program goals include:

  • Improve the overall health and well-being of 2SLGBTQ++ Inuit by providing safe, culturally appropriate spaces and services
  • Support and enhance coordinated, community-based service delivery to improve outcomes for 2SLGBTQ++
  • Provide a coordinated system of community-based prevention programs and services that are community designed and delivered to best meet the needs of 2SLGBTQ++ urban Inuit

Our Services Provide:

  • Holistic, harmonized, culturally appropriate and strength-based approaches
  • Preventative perspective and focused on the social determinants of health
  • Cultural and identity are foundational
  • Flexible and outcomes focused
  • Reconciliation focused (we acknowledge the past, we are acting now, and looking into the future)

The first and last sessions are open to the public.

Drop-In will run bi-weekly at The Bronson Centre, 211 Bronson Ave. Ottawa Ontario – Room 222

  • Friday November 25, 2022 2:30-5:00 Grand Opening Open to the general community
  • Friday December 2, 2022 2:30-5:00 2SLGBTQ++ youth age 12-18
  • Friday December 9, 2022 2:30-5:00 2SLGBTQ++ youth age 19-25
  • Friday December 16, 2022 2:30-5:00 2SLGBTQ++ youth age 12-18
  • Friday December 23, 2022 2:30-5:00 (TBA)
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MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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