Nova Scotia

Eskasoni First Nation holds first Pride events

Eskasoni First Nations will hold its first-ever Pride Day Saturday, with organizers saying they have no idea how many LGBT people there are in Eskasoni, or how many of them will take part.

Organizer describes days' events as a 'foot in the door'

Eskasoni Pride organizer Geordy Marshall designed a flag bearing the Mi'kmaq expression, 'I am proud of myself.' (Geordy Marshall)

Eskasoni First Nation will hold its first-ever Pride Day Saturday and co-ordinator Geordy Marshall said he and his cousin are the ones who got the ball rolling.

"I work with the youth, and I'm really passionate about youth and having their sense of identity, and to feel comfortable with who they are, as Mi'kmaq people, but also as part of the LGBT-plus community," he said.

The two used Facebook to gauge interest in forming a Pride committee in Eskasoni.

'It's hard to tell'

Several people signed on, including Eskasoni's chief, Leroy Denny.

Marshall's not sure how many people living in the community identify as LGBT.

Youth worker Geordy Marshall is helping organize Eskasoni's first Pride events. (Holly Conners/CBC)

"It's hard to tell because there's a lot of people that hide," he said.

He blames that, in part, on the legacy of the residential school experience.

Feeling safe and loved

"Our people kind of lost who they were," he said. "So with that disconnect, it kind of created a lot of ignorance in our communities with these types of things. I don't mean that in a negative way; I mean we truly didn't know.

"So it is our duty now to rejoin ourselves, and to have pride in who we are as Mi'kmaq, and have pride in ourselves as LGBTQ-plus, so we can be together as one, and heal as one."

Marshall describes the inaugural Pride event as a foot in the door.

"People need to see that there's a whole community out there that cares for them," he said.

"This has kind of been a quiet thing, so we're kind of tired of being quiet. So hopefully people will come out to feel safe and okay and loved."

The Eskasoni Pride events kick off at 2 p.m. on Nov. 5, with a parade through the community.