Regina two-spirit community event incorporates traditional tattoo teachings

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Regina two-spirit community event incorporates traditional tattoo teachings's Profile


The Newo-Yotina Friendship Centre in Regina is holding two-spirit events every week as a way to provide a community space for two-spirit individuals and allies who wish to learn more and offer support. 

On Wednesday, visual artist and tattoo artist Stacey Fayant talked about cultural tattooing, its history and its importance in discovering one’s self-identity.

Fayant herself is not two-spirit and has Métis, Cree, Saulteaux and French heritage. She is a member of Peepeekisis First Nation.

“I talk about what tattooing was used for in the past prior to colonization and what it’s used for now,” she said.

“I feel like I’m just a small person who has been given this beautiful responsibility.

“I do not represent two-spirit people and I can’t speak specifically to that but I can listen to that and hopefully help bring people up who, in the tattooing world, can represent that and can forge that way forward for our community.”

Stacey Fayant, wearing pink glasses at the Newo Yotina Friendship Centre
Stacey Fayant says she learned traditional tattoo knowledge as a way of preserving her own Indigenous culture while healing. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

She said tattooing is also a way of identifying oneself and each other as many people get tattoos dedicated to their tribes, family culture and their own traditional names.

Everybody is welcome to the two-spirit events and they have a wide range of speakers and activities for the youth and community.

Bren Henderson, the campus programs manager of the UR Pride Centre at the University of Regina who helps instruct the two-spirit events and support key co-ordinators for the friendship centre, said events revolve around identity and Indigeneity in reconnecting with culture, as lots of Indigenous people might not have access to these teachings and were not raised with them. 

Bren Henderson speaking at the Newo-Yotina Friendship Centre
Bren Henderson says it’s difficult to find services that are respective to gender identity alongside Indigeneity. (CBC News)

Henderson is a two-spirit person who was born and raised in Regina and is a member of Montreal Lake Cree Nation.

“It can be really hard to find services that are respective to your gender identity alongside Indigeneity,” they said.

“I do hope there are discussions within our communities to give more space to two-spirit folks and women as well. I know it’s an ongoing conversation that’s not very easy.”

A cultural tattoo on someone named Jillian Innes done by Stacey Fayant
Stacey Fayant has done many tattoos, including this chest piece done on Jillian Innes. (Submitted by Stacey Fayant)

Lindsay Cottin, a program co-ordinator at the Newo-Yotina Friendship Centre for women and two-spirit individuals, said the events are important to bring awareness and community.

“Especially [within] the two-spirit community, because it’s such a diverse and close-knit group, that we want them to be able to come in, feel comfortable, and have access to resources,” she said.

The group is offered every week and covers a wide range of topics from tattooing to how parents and guardians of two-spirit people can support their kids, to providing people with tools and information to fight gender-based violence.



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