Writer calls 'snagging' a celebration of Indigenous sexuality

Snagging is a popular, tongue-in-cheek term used in many Indigenous communities. "In essence and in this context it really means human relations. Not just hook up culture or sexuality, but the relations that we have as Indigenous peoples."
Troy Sebastian describes 16 different snag combinations in his tongue-in-cheek article for The Walrus magazine. (Facebook)
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It's a time honoured tradition in many an Indigenous community, right up there with powwows, bannock and beadwork.

Snagging is a popular, tongue-in-cheek term used in many Indigenous communities.

"In essence and in this context it really means human relations. Not just hook up culture or sexuality, but the relations that we have as Indigenous peoples within our communities ... intertribal, and even outside of Indigenous communities,' said Troy Sebastian, who wrote an article on the topic for The Walrus.

"Part of the beauty of the term is that it's not one easily clearly defined expression, there's so many within it."

The Ktunaxa writer, who is from the community of ʔaq̓am in BC, covered 16 different categories of snagging including life snag — a long term, monogamous one — side snag — one you pick up on the side — and conference snag — when a snag happens at a work event.

"A lot of it I just, sort of, kind of came up with off the top of my head. Things that I had thought about. Some of its personal, some of it's just stuff [I've heard in community]."

Sebastian said he often wondered why no one had written about the teasing term before and when the magazine invited him to write an article, snagging was on his list.

"A lot of the motivation is, 'what is not being said and what's not out there," he recalled.

And while he had a lot of fun writing it, he also knows how important it to honour both his community of ʔaq̓am and the wider Indigenous community.

"I definitely wanted to make sure it was truthful and not a reflection of an expression of power, or of a patriarchy at all because… so much of this knowledge [is] relayed through our matriarchs."

Sebastian said it is important for Indigenous people to talk about sex, sexuality and relationships openly because for so long it has been oppressed by the state, society and the church.

"We need to really, not just unpack, but let go. Shed ourselves as best as we possibly can from generation to generation from that. It is a huge, huge problem in our community to have this shame and to have this fear of sexuality and of our relationships," he said.

"We need to celebrate our sexualities."