First Stories - Two Spirited

6 min 49 s
Sharon A. Desjarlais

Two Spirited is the empowering story of Rodney "Geeyo" Poucette's shattering encounter with prejudice and his journey to overcome it. As a two spirited person (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered), Geeyo hasn't always been so readily accepted in some Aboriginal communities. In August 2000, Geeyo registered as a dancer in the Kamloopa Powwow under the Jingle Dress category - a category normally reserved for women. After competing, an elder discovered that Geeyo was, in fact, a man and took away his championship. Deeply humiliated, he stopped dancing. Two spirited people were once respected and honoured for their spiritual gifts, his grandma reminded him. The Jingle Dress Dance is his gift. Years before, Geeyo had a dream in which he was given this dance - known as a healing dance - to honour his two spirits, and to start him on his healing journey. Six years after the Kamloopa Powwow, Geeyo makes a triumphant return to the powwow arena, realizing that the only way to change people's minds is to walk proudly, while being true to one's spirit.