Sounding Thunderbird Woman
Zongwe Binesikwe Crystal A. Hardy is a Two-Spirit Anishinaabe storyteller, writer and spiritual artist (they/she) from Thunder Bay, Ontario. They are from the Bear Clan and their home community is Binnjitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek Rocky Bay First Nation.
They have over 15 years of nursing experience working with Indigenous communities and have been a primary health care nurse practitioner since 2010. Zongwe completed the Indigenous Reporters Program with Journalists for Human Rights in 2021. Their PhD in nursing thesis at Queen's University is focused on cultural humility in action and decolonizing trauma work using expressive arts.
Zongwe's stories are guided by Spirit and include personal experiences healing through intergenerational trauma, childhood abuse and complex PTSD. Their mother is one of the missing Indigenous women in Canada and their brother was murdered in 2017. They use storytelling as medicine through podcasting, writing and art as ceremony.
They create social change through storytelling by producing and hosting two healing podcasts: Under the Same Stars and Nokomis Speaks. Find their creative writing published in GBR Publishing’s “Lighting the North”and “She’s No Longer Silent” and the upcoming release of GCW Publishing’s “She Moves Mountains".
Zongwe is a contributing author in "Caring for LGBTQ2S People: A Clinical Guide, 2nd Edition" with the University of Toronto Press that is due for release in fall 2021. Their chapter focuses on Indigenous LGBTQ and Two Spirit Health.
STORYTELLING FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
Teachings from Grandmother Moon
Listen as Nokomis Speaks and connecting to the teachings of Grandmother Moon. Join Zongwe Binesikwe as they explore Indigenous moon teachings through storytelling, hand drumming and ceremony. Each episode features teachings from Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers from across the globe.
ZEE'S PLACE RADIO SHOW
CILU 102.7 FM Thunder Bay
Zongwe Binesikwe created Zee's Place to promote decolonization and reconciliation across Turtle Island and the world through music and story telling.
Zee's Place first aired on CILU 102.7FM LU Radio on December 4, 2019 and decolonizing the airwaves by sharing Indigenous and non indigenous artists promoting social change and unity.
The Farewell Show was April 28, 2021, but you can listen to past broadcasts here. Stayed tuned for a new show this fall!
SHE MOVES MOUNTAINS
Reclamation of an Anishinaabe Storyteller
GCW Publishing's ‘She Moves Mountains’ is a collection of real life stories from women sharing the triumphs, trials and tribulations of their professional journeys in careers and entrepreneurship. Zongwe reveals her journey of self-reclamation by writing the wrongs through storytelling in her powerful chapter, Spirit Adventurer.
'She Moves Mountains' will be available online or in stores this fall. Get your copy today and stay connected for the official book launch!
Lighting The North sheds light on equality, freedom and illustrates the diverse search for identity and belonging each woman faces and the collective spirit she is building among her Northern sisters, the day-to-day grind, and the behind closed doors secrets we face in our nation.
In her chapter, Daanis, Zongwe explores her personal experiences of intergenerational trauma in this revealing letter to her daughter.
Lighting the North: An Anthology of Feminism and Cultural Diversity from Across the Nation with GBR Publishing
2020 Canadian Book Club Award Finalist Non-Fiction
She's No Longer Silent
Healing after Mental Health Trauma, Sexual Abuse, and Experiencing Injustice with GBR Publishing
Amazon Best Seller
She’s No Longer Silent is a collection of stories written by women who have found their strength and reclaimed their voices by overcoming trauma and tuning into their intuition. Zongwe's featured poetry: Daughters of Four Generations.
PAINTING AS CEREMONY
Zongwe uses ceremonial painting as a spiritual practice of creating sacred art that includes smudging and connecting with the canvas, while honouring and seeking guidance from their Spirit and Ancestors.
Zongwe created this silent jingle dress art piece to draw attention to MMIWG while attending Definitely Superior Art Gallery's Derelicte 12. The traditional jingles were replaced with fabric printed cut outs of the generic face used by the MMIWG database for unidentified persons. Photo by: Chondon Photography
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS
In 2019, The Nest Studio hosted an evening of music & art featuring Canadian singer Cat Jahnke, in support of Canadian Mental Health Association. While listening to Cat Jahnke’s song called, "Black Heart, Black Soul", Zongwe explored their own struggles for freedom from darkness with their painting as ceremony piece, Punky.
If you are struggling right now, please remember that you are so important to this world.
We need you! Here are some supports that can help:
Call or Text 1-855-554-4325 (HEAL)
Call 1-833-456-4566 or Text 45645
Call 1-800-668-6868 or Text 686868
Naomi Ruth Levitz
M.S.W., R.S.W., PhD (ABD)
Twice now, I have had the privilege of hearing Crystal Hardy speak, and both remain on my heart and in my head. She has the unique gift of being able to share authentically and openly from personal experience without losing her intention. Both opportunities held diverse audiences, once at the end of Feb 2020 for Executive Directors and Board Chairs for AIDS serving organizations across the province, and the other in June 2020 for a mid level college class in Windsor, Ontario.
Ms. Hardy weaves her lived and learned experiences into story in order to support learning and growth. During each engagement, she shifted her messaging to fit the listeners and was graceful in taking questions and crafting answers to meet the needs of those present. The topics of Indigenous Healing, and Trauma are especially complex when shared in a diverse audience, even more so when the speaker may be the only Indigenous identified person in the room. It is this bravery and commitment to cause that makes Ms. Hardy so exceptional.
There can be no reconciliation without truth, and this is made evident in Ms. Hardy’s presentation style. She is unapologetic about the need for each of us to do our own work, and honest about the personal work that she had, and continues to put in to grow. Surely, her resume is impressive and her extensive professional experience speaks to a wide skill set. Her presence however, makes her powerful and a great addition to any team.
Months, and weeks, after hearing her speak, I am still thinking about our time together, even though I was just one in an audience. I welcome the chance to hear her again and hope that many more will have the opportunity.
Founder, The Uncommon Woman
“Let’s begin in the east where all life begins.” Lighting the North, Crystal Hardy Zongwe Binesikwe, Sounding Thunderbird Woman
I met Crystal in 2017 at the National Inquiry for Missing and Murdered Women and Girls. After she spoke, I stood in line waiting to take her hands and tell her that I knew her mother, the woman who she spoke of at the inquiry. Her mother, Ruby, presumed murdered by Robert Picton, was one of thousands of Indigenous women and girls forgotten by our society. She was there to remind us.
In the moment leading up to meeting Crystal I had no idea that she would become one of the most powerful voices in my own personal transformation and healing journey as I came to understand my own white privilege, and my role and responsibility as a woman who creates safe and inclusive spaces for all women to be seen and heard.
Crystal Hardy, or Zongwe Binesikwe, continues to tirelessly use her voice and bring awareness to issues that need to be exposed, issues that we are, collectively, still afraid to address and heal.
Speaking up on behalf of those who can no longer speak for themselves and those who go unseen is both a painful and loving experience. Yet, she continues. I admire her courage and commitment, and understand the toll it takes on her soul.
Over the past 3 years, I have had the honour of knowing and witnessing Crystal's journey into becoming a powerful Indigenous woman messenger and leader.
I am so excited for her most recent use of her Voice as she has co-authored two books ‘She’s No Longer Silent’ and ‘Lighting the North.’
By supporting Crystal's voice and message we are acknowledging that we acknowledge her truth, have much to learn, and have a responsibility to be part of the change that is long overdue in our country, a country starved for truth and reconciliation.
Keep Sounding Your Voice, Sister. We are listening.