A discussion on Indigenous Two-Spirit & Queer History in MB with Gayle Pruden & Glen Tssessaze

In the spirit of Pride and Indigenous History Month, MYS is honoured to sit down with Gayle Pruden and Glen Tssessaze on Indigneous Two-Spirit and Queer history in Manitoba.

Gayle is a jingle dress dancer and Two-Spirit trans woman from Little Saskatchewan First Nation, Treaty 2 territory MB. Glen is a Two-Spirit Dene singer from Lac Brochet in northern Manitoba.

Questions for Gayle and Glen? Email before end of day Friday, June 18, 2021. We'll include them in the interview, which we'll broadcast later this month.

In the meantime, here's a little background on Gayle and Glen.

Gayle Pruden

Gayle is a jingle dress dancer and Two-Spirit woman from Little Saskatchewan First Nation Treaty 2 territory Manitoba.

Raised by her grandmother, grandfather and great grandfather in a community of about 500 people, Gayle is fluent in Anishinabemowin and the oldest of five siblings.

Gayle has danced for more than 15 years. She says the gift of dance was given to her in a dream and dancing has taken her across Canada and the United States. Dancing on the pow wow trail has also enriched Gayle's life with knowledge about the old ways of doing ceremony, which she also shares with others to keep the knowledge alive. She is open about sharing her experiences and teachings and has been honoured as a grandmother in different ceremonies and gatherings.

The jingle dress is a sacred dress of healing and an important part of Gayle's culture and identity. Being a visibly Two-Spirit dancer in a a news video has also inspired LGBT to reach out through social media to Gayle to thank her for the video and represenation. In addition to all this, Gayle is also active in the promotion of drag as an Indigenous art form and an expression of identity, We are fortunate to have her share some some of her work, knowledge and dance. 

Glen Tssessaze

Raised on Lac Brochet reserve in northern Manitoba, Glen learned Dene as a first language and English as a second language. Glen is Dene with Cree relatives on their mother's side of the family. They learned how to sing ceremonial songs over 10 years ago. Glen has been learning a lot about theirself over the years and today feels comfortable identifying as a Two-Spirit person. Glen enjoys telling their story to motivate others to be who they are.