Warren & Osemis

Author: Jack Saddleback and Bonnie Heilman

As a Two Spirit couple married for six years, Warren & Osemis (oh-see-miss), fondly reminisce on the beauty that June brings. With it being both Pride month and National Indigenous History Month, the season brings together their 2SLGBTQ community and Indigenous community alike, for a double dose of family reunions!

Warren, of the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, and Osemis, of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, were on the hunt for wedding venues in 2015 when they attended the Out on the River – Pride Ferry Ride on the Prairie Lily. The inviting and energetic atmosphere spoke to their values of family, fun, and a sense of being wrapped in love. Thinking further back to their first experiences with Pride, Warren and Osemis recall their first time walking together in the Parade when they invited family to join and to their lovely surprise (not surprise) they were met by various family members walking proudly behind them!

The celebrations of Two Spirit peoples (Queer Indigenous peoples) in Indigenous communities is not necessarily new to the lands. Prior to colonization and the state of Canada, Indigenous nations long celebrated and uplifted gender and sexual diversity. This rings true in the accepting atmosphere laid out in Two Spirit initiatives across Canada. Even here in Saskatchewan, Two Spirit communities are revitalizating spaces that have long been impacted by colonialism. With large ceremonies and celebrations like the Two Spirit Powwow, the first being held at the University of Saskatchewan and then in partnership with Beardy’s & Okemasis Cree Nation, the Two Spirit community’s visibility speaks to the intergenerational work being done.

When visiting Saskatoon for Pride, those looking to ignite the tastes of Powwow season can head over to Bannock Express or to the little hidden bannock gem like Kohkum (Cree = grandmother) makes at Fire Creek Gas. If you’re looking to work off that bannock, you can do so over at Dakota Dunes, Indigenous owned business and a proud Saskatoon Pride community partner, to play on their award winning golf course or take a quick trip to Moon Lake Golf & Country Club too, another long-time partner of great events like OUT on the Green.

For Warren and Osemis, events like the Two Spirit Powwow and the Saskatoon Pride Parade meld their communities together like one big family reunion. Near and far, revitalization efforts of Two Spirit culture bring together the solidarity of Indigenous communities and 2SLGBTQ communities. As Warren says, Saskatoon Pride invites everyone to “Come join us, come sit with us, come laugh with us, come join the circle”; âstam (ah-stum: Cree = come here) pihtikwe (peh-tay-gway: Cree = enter, come in)