Rachael Arsenault is a Canadian author with a BA in Sociology and Native Studies. She's a hippie at heart, a D&D nerd, and a pun enthusiast.
Instagram and Twitter: @rachaellawrites
Why Do First Nations People Demand Self-Governance?
In the days leading up to Thanksgiving in Canada, you’ll often see social media flooded with more posts and memes about First Nations’ rights, land theft, and colonialism. That the indigenous peoples of Canada were here first is common knowledge, and that settler society has done harmful and racist things against First Nations people is well-known. But there is still a fairly large gap in the general understanding of what, exactly, happened—and about what issues First Nations people in Canada continue to face.
Is It Okay to Be Bi-Curious?
I don’t think it’s a secret that the MOGAI community is complicated, or that there are a lot of misconceptions about the many, many identities encompassed within that umbrella. From contention around the term "queer," to questions about what the “A” in "LGBTQIA+" stands for, there’s a lot to learn and remember and unpack—and a lot of misinformation to contend with. Moreover, when dealing with such a large community, it’s inevitable that you encounter differences of perspective and opinion, which unfortunately can turn heated.
Genocide on American Soil
There is no question that the political climate of the US is highly charged in recent years, or that President Donald Trump has been accused of heinous actions. In the Ukraine scandal alone, he is accused of numerous crimes, including bribery, extortion, and conspiracy. (Walter 2019) There’s been ongoing, consistent outcry about the border camps and practice of separating migrant children from their families to live in squalor. (Dalton 2019; Holmes 2019; Helm and Tapper 2018; Miller 2019) But the conversation around these border camps—these concentration camps, as they have been called (Holmes 2019; Miller 2019)—falls woefully short of acknowledging the biggest, most central problem with the practice of separating children from their families as a matter of government policy.
Playing Against Type: Evil Paladins in D&D
Depending on play style, home rules, or if you’re playing in an official league like Adventurer’s League, alignment can be a very important part of character creation in Dungeons and Dragons. Race, class, and alignment need to fit together sensibly and can all influence how you play your character. The way these factors work together varies across the game’s very long history and numerous editions, but my experience is with fifth edition (AKA 5e), so we’ll focus on that for now.
Women's Firsts in Literature
It shouldn’t be a surprise that women have achieved some impressive accomplishments throughout history, and yet I wouldn’t be lying if I said a lot of those accomplishments are a surprise—and I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way.
Queer, Umbrella Terms, and Alternative Language
There has long been contentious and problematic language surrounding the LGBTQIA+ community. Even the aforementioned acronym can be controversial, as our understanding of non-heterosexual, non-cis/non-binary, and generally non-normative identities expand and more letters are needed to encompass the whole spectrum. One word often used for such an umbrella term is “queer,” but this isn’t universally accepted, either.
Why Aren't the Inuit Called First Nations People?
Before I dive into this topic, a quick disclaimer is in order: I am a white woman. I speak on these topics from an academic position, not from personal experience. I do have a BA in Native Studies, and owe a lot of my foundational knowledge about First Nations issues and history to my First Nations professors and their colleagues: Dr. Roland Chrisjohn, Shaunessy McKay, and Tanya Wasacase. I have built on this knowledge with careful research, and have made an effort to include more indigenous voices within those sources. The reason I want to write about these issues is because I feel it is important to use my voice to help dispel misconceptions and misinformation.