Jack Saddleback is a Cree two-spirit transgender gay man from the Samson Cree Nation in Maskwacis, Alberta. Growing up as a genderqueer child, he faced bullying and discrimination at school and in his community. He was diagnosed with severe depression at the age of 14 and struggled for years to reach a stage of recovery. He eventually came out as transgender at the age of 18 after his battle with suicidal thoughts and depression. With the help of conventional therapy in conjunction with traditional Cree ceremonies that place a holistic lens on recovery, he was able to overcome his depression.
Jack attributes his recovery to his family, and their dedication to helping him recover from mental illness. Jack’s love for his family has empowered him to take an active role in creating change for other youth dealing with mental health problems. As an executive member of the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union, Jack works within student governance to promote mental health among undergrad students. Along with mental health activism, he advocates for gender and sexual diversity issues, two-spirit issues, and HIV & AIDS. He understands that all people need to speak up and inspire one another to take charge of their own recovery.