• Ngaio Simmons

We were always here - day 2 at the LGTBQIA+ camp

Day two saw us opening once more with a gratitude hui. Bringing love and thanks to our ancestors, chosen and blood families, our experiences, and the people whose land we stand on, Kānaka Maoli.


After our opening, we launched into a presentation on settler colonialism and the ways in which the presence of colonizers and their ideals continues to influence the ways in which the Eurowestern world defines gender and sexual orientation.

When I learned about colonialism and LGBTQIA+ identities in college, I remember it being mostly separated. It was rare for professors or instructors I had to make the connection between colonialism and non-cis-gendered/heterosexual sexualities and genders.


When it comes to Indigenous communities specifically, most things would circle back to the man and woman and the need to keep our respective nations going strong through continued procreation and the building up of blood families. There were few instances where I would hear things outside of the binary and it was not until graduate school that I truly learned about my own culture’s ways of viewing sexuality and gender. Settler colonialism impacted the ways in which cis-gendered-heterosexual men and women interact, yes; but it also wreaked such destruction on people outside of the gender binary and heterosexuality that we have to dig for our lives to find any evidence that we existed at all before colonization arrived.


I am glad the participants were able to learn about settler colonialism and the impact on LGBTQIA+ identities as a single, related subject. We were always here. We are integral players in our cultures and members of our communities. We will continue to be here. Even if colonialism wants to convince everyone that we aren’t real.

After this presentation, the rest of the day was spent going through camera again. In between small breaks, participants started capturing some film and audio for the first time. Three teams have been pretty firmly established. A few film ideas and genres are being thrown out as potentials, one being a genre hybrid of sorts. Today was heavy and filled with a lot to think about. I’m sure the participants are going to make something splendid out of it.