Celebrating queerness & Indigeneity with Virago Nation

June is both Indigenous History Month and Pride Month in so-called Canada. Here at IRSHDC, we recognize the ways in which the ongoing impacts of the Indian Residential School system continue to impact the lives of Indigenous people. We also want to recognize the importance of lifting up Indigenous joy and creativity. Queer Indigenous people exist on multiple intersecting margins – this month and always, we celebrate and support them.

To mark both Pride and Indigenous History Month, IRSHDC had the honour and joy of speaking with members of Virago Nation. Virago Nation are an all-Indigenous burlesque troupe who have been performing since 2016. As their website says, they seek to show their audiences that, “heteronormativity is inherently colonial and that queerness is a gift to be celebrated.” They highlight body and sex positivity, uplifting Indigeneity, femme & feminine empowerment, and joyful queerness.

In 2019, Virago Nation became a non-profit – Virago Nation Indigenous Arts Society – in order to connect with as many Indigenous communities as possible.

We spoke with Virago Nation members Ruthe Ordare, RainbowGlitz, and Monday Blues about queerness, Indigeneity, how their roots inform their art, and how they’ve built and continue to grow in community.

Stay tuned to our social media for highlights from this conversation, and watch the full interview when it launches later this month!

See Virago Nation performing on June 21 at Evergreen Cultural Centre for Indigenous Peoples Day, and headlining Vancouver Pride on July 26.