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Decolonizing Gender

galina
Author
Galina Angrova

Dear Cultural Survival community,

As 2022 comes to a close, I want to thank you for your unwavering support and partnership. This year marked our 50th anniversary, and while we had a lot to celebrate, Indigenous communities are facing new challenges, including rights violations in the transition to the Green Economy due to extractive industries and threats from fortress conservation efforts, not to mention ongoing criminalization, violence, discrimination, and marginalization. After five decades, our work continues to secure Indigenous Peoples’ rights.

Cultural Survival focuses on Indigenous Peoples in their totality. We understand that colonization has twisted our collective worldview, and as a result, we live today in a world where gender relationships are out of balance. Much of the violence and inequities have been caused by a disruption in the continuity of ancestral values and traditions that held together the cohesiveness of communities. Indigenous Peoples’ views and understandings of gender are just as diverse as their cultures. However, imposed patriarchy and Christianity vilified Queerness in our communities, making it into a threat to be eradicated. There is also a fundamental difference between Indigenous Peoples’ approaches to issues of gender equity and that of Western societies. While Western societies glorify the individual, Indigenous Peoples prioritize the communal. We believe that within this sense of community, Indigenous Peoples can best develop the tools needed to assert their rights and achieve gender
equity.

This issue of the CSQ is dedicated to uplifting our relatives of other genders and those who identify as non-binary. In many pre-colonial Indigenous societies, there were multiple recognized genders, and those folks held different revered roles. Colonialism, Christianity, and the patriarchy forced many of these identities into hiding. We share with you a few stories of decolonization from the viewpoints of some who are unearthing some of this buried or interrupted knowledge, how they are reclaiming and finding meaning in those identities, and the challenges they are facing.

2SLGBTQ+ youth face heightened rates of familial rejection, homelessness, substance abuse, and suicide, and are often left to fend for themselves. Violence and hate continue against members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, who often face a significant level of risk of being public about their identities. We see this violence occurring every day when we turn on the news. We send our love and support to all those affected by hatred and violence and commit to building a future that respects the diversity of people of all genders and sexual orientations. We find hope in the reconnection to ancestral knowledge and languages that has brought healing and strength to many and serves as a path for our youth.

In 2022, our team has grown, and so has our impact. None of our work can be done without your financial backing. We are asking you to renew your commitment to supporting Indigenous Peoples’ rights and to help resource our work so we can ensure Indigenous Peoples’ rights are fully respected, protected, and fulfilled. We have an ambitious goal to raise $250,000 by December 31, 2022, for our end-of-the year campaign. We cannot do it without
you!

With wishes for a healthy, prosperous, just, and peaceful holiday season and New Year 2023,

Galina Angarova (Buryat)
Executive Director

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