New traditions

“Esguerra’s ‘new tradition’ concept offers a useful framework for us to reimagine our efforts. ‘To create something new, you have to know where you came from: your past, your roots, and the struggle of your ancestors,’ explains Esguerra. ‘You have to study in order to contribute new elements and fuse it with other styles.’ Taking Esguerra’s lead, we might ask: how can we combine the best of our traditions with new approaches to labour organizing that respond to the changing realities of work?”

Ryan Hayes – Briarpatch – October 2020


A new era for Old Crow

“The Gwich’in way of life remains – both culturally and economically – anchored to the land through hunting, fishing, and trapping. Today, we are at the T’loo K’at campground for the Vuntut Gwitchin government’s summer family salmon fishing camp. And it is at this camp, after a day of being out on the water, of visiting the nets, of seeing how whitefish is cleaned and smoked, that I begin to understand what it means to be an outsider in Old Crow. A tourist.”

Meral Jamal – Briarpatch – December 2019

‘At least hookers get wages’

“Mariam turns on location tracking when she’s en route to a date. Coordinating with her roommate, she sets a time by which she will send them a check-in text. Her purse contains one bottle of water-based lubricant, a strip of latex condoms, her wallet and keys, and a small pocket knife. She’s alone. Standing outside a Nuns’ Island condo complex, she refreshes her SeekingArrangement messages. Her client is 10 minutes late. She sits on the edge of a concrete planter, examining his profile. It ends with a familiar note: ‘no escorts, please.'”

Bee Khaleeli – Briarpatch – October 2019

A dignified death

Megan Jensen – Briarpatch – September 2019

The loud silence of queer poverty

“Egale has fallen into one of the more common traps of 2S-LGBTQ non-profit organizing. While well intentioned and certainly useful, their activism primarily represents the perceptions and interests of more privileged members of the community – those who do not deal directly with homelessness, substance abuse, sex work, and other, more ‘unseemly’ elements of 2S-LGBTQ life, which has historically largely been defined by its lack of access to capital.”

Alex Verman – Briarpatch – September 2019

This is a prison, no matter what you call it

Jon Milton – Briarpatch – June 2019

Sending Josephine home

“On May 17, 2018, Calgary Police surrounded a home in Penbrooke Meadows. Two people – a man and a woman – unknown to the owners, had barricaded themselves inside the empty basement suite. After an hour-long stakeout, police entered the home. When they came out, the man was critically injured, and the woman was dead. For nearly a month the dead woman’s name was not released. It was the third fatal shooting by Calgary Police Service (CPS) officers that year. Her name was Josephine Shelly Lynn Pelletier. She was Cree and Saulteaux, and she was 33 years old.”

Sarah Birrell – Briarpatch – December 2018

“Indigenizing” child apprehension

“The first time I met my grandmother, she was crowded into my tiny apartment with a group of Anishinaabe mothers and grandmothers, each family involved in a battle with Ontario’s Children’s Aid Societies (CAS). She wasn’t my grandmother yet – the adoption came later, after her family began to heal from their ordeal. I had been invited to join the group as a writer – a friend struggling with her own CAS case asked me to help them generate media attention. My adoptive grandparents know all too well how important it is to have family that’s close, and they invited me into their family when they learned that my own family lives far away. As a white woman, I remain an outsider to Anishinaabe laws and traditions, albeit a well-informed one. But I am also someone whose family is on the line.”

Sarah Mann – Briarpatch – January 2018

Checking in with the oil crowd

David Gray-Donald – Briarpatch – August 2018

Taking your transition into your own hands

Alex Verman – Briarpatch – August 2018