These Ones (formerly Together Apart) is a loosely formed collective of 2S/Indigiqueer artists, writers and performers that followed out of the Spring 2019 Together Apart, Queer Indigeneities 2S/Indigiqueer Symposium, inspired by the Two-Spirit Cabarets held at grunt during the early 90s. With a flexible format of membership, These Ones uses itself as a mobilizing point to pool skills and resources that can be adaptive to ideas, projects and partnerships as they come. By operating through grunt gallery with Curator Whess Harman (Carrier Wit’at), the collective is able to anchor itself and its projects within a stable and intuitive organizing body while retaining agency over programming decisions and outcomes. The project reflects the widely interdisciplinary nature that inherently follows organizing around the identities that fall within the cross-section of both queer and Indigenous. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the moniker of “Together Apart” has taken on a very different meaning and indeed has been taken up by other groups and projects. With that, our Together Apart collective will now go forward as “These Ones.” “These Ones” is a phrase often affectionately used in Indigenous communities to refer to groups of usually-but-not-always young folks who are very close with one another and tend to move as a unit.
Projects for These Ones are both on-going and forth-coming, and open to 2S/Indigiqueer community members for assistance in the conception and organization of projects. Following the original symposium event, the Together Apart Zine, initially a publication made to go alongside the event, has extended now into a nine issue run gathering work from artists and writers from across Turtle Island. Adapted into a two-term peer mentorship model, the Together Apart Zine has been edited both by writer Brandi Bird (Cree, Saulteaux and Metis) and following with Kaya Joan (Jamaican/ Vincentian, Kanien’kehá:ka). Through the course of the nine issues, over 30 queer, Indigenous and Afro-Indigenous creators have contributed to either the zine or its accompanying launch events and partnerships.
As of July 2022, These Ones is thrilled to announce a new project written by Jessica and Ben Johns. Cree & D, a narrative radio play, takes you along with Aunties Vera, Darlene and Mac (voiced by Jessica, Emily Riddle and Matt Ward respectively) to solve the case of Kokum Cardinal’s stolen (very powerful and important) staff. Written in the style of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, this is a story of love, family, and of course adventure, as these aunties work to preserve the hard won and tenuous peace treaty between the six nations. Click here for details.
Going forward, Together Apart is seeking avenues of digital projects both in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in efforts to be accessible to queer Indigenous folks beyond urban spaces. These projects are grounded in an ethos of for us/by us as a way of better expressing queer Indigenous identities in all its multiplicity while prioritizing solidifying platforms in which queer and Indigenous creators have opportunities to build their practices with and alongside one another.
Images: Untitled by Kaya Joan; Issue 5 cover by Lacie Burning; Issue 4 interior art by Jaime Blankinship.