Connecting and empowering communities



June is Indigenous History Month – a time to commemorate, honor, and recognize the history and culture of Indigenous Peoples. We wanted to take some time to explore how mentoring relationships have helped young Indigenous mentees connect to their culture. We talked to a mentee from BGCBigs to learn more about his experience. He shared a time he and his mentor went to an ice festival that had an Indigenous experience section. There were various indigenous-based crafts and activities available for anyone to do in the teepee. They chatted with some of the elders, and he really enjoyed learning from them and asking questions. He talked about how it was really important to him that he got to share this experience with his mentor and to know that he can always count on his mentor to be there for him as he learns more about his culture. Plus, the hot chocolate was incredible. He shared that it is so important for mentees to invite their parents or mentors to join them in researching and attending events in their community to learn more about Indigenous culture and history. Additionally, he would like to challenge everyone to check their bias and unlearn stigmatizing thoughts and actions to avoid making negative assumptions about Indigenous people.

What is pride month?

Pride Month is a month dedicated to the celebration and commemoration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, and two-spirit pride. Pride Month began after the Stonewall riots, a series of gay liberation protests in 1969 in the United States. Since, it has spread and is celebrated around the world, typically in the month of June! Modern-day Pride Month both honors the strides made for 2SLGBTQIA+ rights and celebrates 2SLGBTQIA+ culture advocating for future growth.

When is it?

It is typically celebrated in the month of June, with Pride Day being celebrated on June 28. That said, some communities chose alternatives dates, so keep an eye out in your local community to get involved!

When speaking about the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, many wonder what does the 2S mean? That’s what Indigenous folks call Two-Spirit which is gender expression that celebrates the presence of both masculine and feminine energy within a body. It’s different from the normative gender expression that western culture tends to emphasize, its gender fluidity (Borresen, 2023). Many Indigenous folks claim Two-Spirit is more than just gender expression, it’s about connection to the people on earth and the land.

Editor’s Note: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada and the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada have launched Big Steps to Success, a collaborative approach to helping young people at-risk. The program provides mentorship opportunities for children and youth aged 7 to 14, with a focus on reaching Indigenous communities. PRISM (Pride, Respect, Identity, Safety & Mentoring) program is designed to create connection for 2SLGBTQIA+ identifying youth. To find programs, like this near you, use this tool to find an agency near you.