On December 1st, 2005 2-Spirted People of the 1st Nations hosted an HIV-positive 2-Spirit men speak out about living with HIV panel presentation. This event was presented by Gaagiigidok Ogokwek trainees from the 2-Spirits Organizational Capacity-Building Pilot Project in recognition of Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week. The panel took place from 10am until noon.
About The Project
The 2-Spirits Organizational Capacity-Building Pilot Project was created to increase the availability of Aboriginal 2-Spirit HIV positive speakers and presenters to communities and organizations, especially those that are Aboriginal. By training five 2-Spirit APHAs, this project intends to fill a need for more voices. Project trainees develop workshops and presentations to increase 2 Spirits ability to deliver Aboriginal specific culturally appropriate HIV/AIDS information within the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community, and by participating in issue-specific workshops and conferences to increase their skills and knowledge of Aboriginal HIV/AIDS issues.
The Panel Presentation
The presentations began promptly at 10am with the project coordinator welcoming guests and going over a project summary. The first two speakers, Dallas and Troy, told the story of their experiences living with HIV AIDS. A well-deserved health break was observed at 11:00am. After the break, Corey and Shane continued the presentation with their very moving stories as well. It was observed that some of the guests found the stories very moving.
We concluded the day with a question and answer period. Guests were thanked for coming. Beverages and light refreshments were served to guests afterwards in the kitchen area. Presenters and guests mingled with each other casually while networking and sharing contact information.
This panel presentation was a first for the Gaagiigidok Ogokwek trainees from the 2-Spirits Organizational Capacity-Building Pilot Project and gave them their first taste of what its like to tell their stories in a public forum. All in all, trainees received a well-deserved boost of confidence while raising awareness in the community for Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week.