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A Two-Spirit Journey

Ma-Nee Chacaby's memoir is an uplifting story of resilience and self-discovery as an Ojibwa-Cree lesbian.

Ma-Nee Chacaby with Mary Louisa Plummer

A Two-Spirit Journey is Ma-Nee Chacaby's extraordinary account of her life as an Ojibwa-Cree lesbian. From her early, often harrowing memories of life and abuse in a remote Ojibwa community riven by poverty and alcoholism, Chacaby's story is one of enduring and ultimately overcoming the social, economic and health legacies of colonialism.

As a child, Chacaby learned spiritual and cultural traditions from her Cree grandmother, and trapping, hunting and bush survival skills from her Ojibwa stepfather. She also suffered physical and sexual abuse by different adults, and in her teen years became alcoholic herself. At twenty, Chacaby moved to Thunder Bay with her children to escape an abusive marriage. Abuse, compounded by racism, continued, but Chacaby found supports to help herself and others. Over the following decades, she achieved sobriety, trained and worked as an alcoholism counsellor, raised her children and fostered many others, learned to live with visual impairment and came out as a lesbian. In 2013, Chacaby led the first gay pride parade in Thunder Bay.

Ma-Nee Chacaby has emerged from hardship grounded in faith, compassion, humour, and resilience. Her memoir provides unprecedented insights into the challenges still faced by many Indigenous people. (From University of Manitoba Press)

From the book

My grandmother's adoptive parents were very good to her. She and her brother were raised in different households within the same extended family. Their new family had also been attacked by another Native group in their original home, so they were migrating across Canada, trying to reach relatives in the coast of James Bay, in northern Ontario. For many years my grandmother travelled with them by foot, horse, or canoe in summer, and dogsled and horse in winter. She said they moved faster on ice and snow, trapping and hunting animals as they travelled.

From A Two-Spirit Journey by Ma-Nee Chacaby with Mary Louisa Plummer ©2016. Published by University of Manitoba Press.