Nehiyaw Two Spirit Creation Stories: Remapping Home, Desire and Indigenous Education Through the Body
Ionah Scully

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



Syracuse University

Primary Discipline

Scully's dissertation, Nehiyaw Two Spirit Creation Stories: Re-mapping Home, Desire, and Indigenous Education through the Body, brings together Two Spirit (Native 2SLGBTQIA+) people of Michel First Nation (MFN) to dialogue about Nehiyaw (Cree) creation stories and subsequently recreate, or re-map, their own creation stories as Two Spirit (2S) people to understand how these stories can support Indigenous and decolonizing educational practices. 2S scholars argue that anti-colonial projects must center 2S futurity because 2S people experience the highest rates of gender violence of any demographic, violence endemic to the ongoing colonial project. This scholarship is immersed in an Indigenous epistemology of contextuality, temporality, and relational accountability that undergirds the entire project design. Told as teaching stories, creation stories must necessarily change as they pass through different time periods and bodies of human storytellers/audiences (and different bodies of lands/waters) to impart teachings pertinent to context and attentive to relations. Across six Talking Circles (dialogue sessions), participant-collaborators are given critical prompts rooted in miskâsowin (internal reflection). A Nehiyaw practice, miskâsowin invites participant-collaborators to integrate mind and body-knowing as a mechanism for coming home (to bodies, desires, Nehiyaw ontologies, and perhaps homelands) to counteract the colonial project?s attempts to dispossess 2S people of life and home. A project of homecoming that centers 2S desires, the resulting stories are shared in an anthology for use by educators and MFN as well as 2S communities broadly to consider their responsibility to the stories, what these stories teach, and prompts to craft their own stories.
About Ionah Scully
Ionah M. Elaine Scully is a Ph.D. Candidate in Cultural Foundations of Education at Syracuse University. With a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, Scully also holds Certificates of Advanced Studies in Conflict Resolution from the Maxwell School and Women?s and Gender Studies from the School of Arts and Sciences, both at Syracuse University. Scully?s work focuses on Indigenous epistemologies for regenerating educational models that are community-based, non-punitive, relational, and multimodal. In particular, Scully examines Two Spirit/Indigenous 2SLGBTQIA+ histories and stories to demonstrate a distinctly queer Indigenous epistemology that values the body?of humans and of lands/waters?as a site of knowledge and learning. A publicly engaged, activist-scholar, Scully?s work is dialogic, collaborative, and community-based. A facilitator of Intergroup Dialogue (IGD), a theory and practice-based initiative of social justice education, Scully created an Indigenized IGD course that centers relationship-building with other-than-humans to foster generative dialogue and collaborations across differences. Offered in community, school, and higher-education settings, Scully was awarded the University of California Davis? Publicly Active Graduate Education fellowship (2019) and the New York Public Humanities Grant (2021) as well as invited to publish in an academic press. Scully has also taught foundations of education, gender studies, and lectured in Native studies courses. Awarded for excellence in teaching (2021), Scully has received numerous awards for activism, writing, scholarship, and land-based education initiatives. Scully is Cree-Métis and Irish (Michel First Nation), active in their community, and committed to Indigenous and Two Spirit education and futures.

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