A Secwépemc love story: Couple celebrates vow renewal and baby blessing

Landon Sekwaw Peters and Joseph Jules-Peters wanted to celebrate their growing family and how far they’ve come.
 Joseph Jules-Peters (right) and Landon Sekwaw Peters (left)  embrace under a blanket. Landon wears a green dress and Joseph is in a plaid vest. There is a tree in the background, just out of focus.
Elope BC officiant Sue Cairnie led a vow renewal and baby blessing ceremony for Joseph Jules-Peters (right) and Landon Sekwaw Peters (left) at the Belgo Chapel in Kelowna on May 7. The couple’s wedding renewal vows focused on parenting with humour and love no matter what. Photo by Joelsview Photography.
This story was originally written by Breanne Massey for our sister outlet, IndigiNews.

The love story of Landon Sekwaw Peters and Joseph Jules-Peters began many years ago, when they first met as teens at a powwow.

They dated on and off for a while, but eventually moved back into a friendship, co-parenting a shared pet dog.

Then, five years ago, the old flames reconnected, and in July of 2020, the Secwépemc couple eloped.

The pair immediately wanted to start a family, but had trouble conceiving so they began undergoing fertility treatments.

The treatments were unsuccessful, and after Landon’s previous history with recurrent pregnancy loss, they decided to begin exploring other options, such as surrogacy and adoption.

In the midst of this, for Landon — who is trans — it made sense to begin his testosterone hormone therapy in December of 2021.

Landon, now 29, identified as non-binary since he was about 16 and shared he was trans with the broader community in 2020. 

“I had a breakdown about it because I had no hope of trying to get the world to see me how I see me,” he said, “because it wasn’t easy to come out of the closet.”

Landon also got on a list for top surgery, and when the procedure was mere months away, took a pregnancy test to confirm it was safe to proceed with a higher dose of testosterone.

In the past, Landon had hoped and prayed for positive results. This time, he wanted to confirm it was negative.

“The only reason I even took that pregnancy test was because I had missed taking my testosterone for three days, so it was the first time I was taking a test to double check I wasn’t pregnant,” Landon said.

However, the results came back with an unexpected twist: the test was positive.

A surprise blessing

Landon and Joseph wore handmade moccasins from a local artisan for their wedding renewal and baby blessing ceremony. Photo by Joelsview Photography.

The couple quickly got on board with the surprise blessing. At the time of the interview, Peters was 24 weeks pregnant and was expecting to deliver in mid-September.

Joseph has two other children, a five and seven-year-old from a previous relationship, and the couple was eager to see their family continue to grow.

“That thought came out of my head a long time ago when I knew Landon wanted to transition,” Joseph, 31, said. “So I knew natural children might not happen for us, so I pushed that out of my head. If we had kids another way, that would be OK and not really thinking it was going to happen —  it was a big ‘oh my god’ moment.”

It’s the culmination of a longtime dream for Landon, however it also means compromising his transition — going “backwards” in how he is perceived — which has made the process difficult to navigate at times.

“Nothing makes me happier than getting this far in my pregnancy and I’m in shock and surrealness every day,” Landon said. “This is definitely the best thing that’s ever happened to me, but I have to compromise myself throughout the whole journey.” 

For the time being, Landon’s top surgery has been postponed, and he is now planning to resume testosterone treatments roughly six months after giving birth. 

“I am being presented as very femme because of my belly,” he said with a laugh. “Wearing my normal clothing, which is sweat pants and a t-shirt, doesn’t have the same vibe anymore.”

‘It was amazing to be welcomed’

In May, Landon and Joseph decided to celebrate everything they’ve overcome with a vow renewal and baby blessing ceremony held at the Belgo Chapel in Kelowna.

“Even though we were already married, it was even more nerve-wracking than our actual wedding,” Joseph said of the event.

“I was stupid nervous. I hid back my tears the entire time. It was super nice to have people who have witnessed me and Landon’s relationship when we were younger talk about it and how amazing it was. It was amazing to be welcomed.”

Landon acknowledged that celebrating their baby before it’s born wasn’t a traditional approach, based on his nation’s cultural teachings, but the decision was a heartfelt one which honoured the couple’s journey toward becoming parents.

“I believe celebrating the birth parent and the baby are separate things, and I really felt it was important for me to feel in my own way that I had climbed through my own deepest darkest hole in the battle of a lifetime to get here,” he said. 

“Ideally, (I’d like) for that to be seen and witnessed and documented in all the ways possible.”

The daylong event for the couple and their baby began with a welcome song performed in the Secwépemc language by Peter Michel and a prayer was offered by Lawrence Michel, Landon’s grandfather.

The couple wore locally-made moccasins down the aisle, and exchanged rings from a berry-stained birchbark basket before revealing they would be having a daughter.

Guests were invited to write letters to their child for the couple to read together after the festivities.

“To me, it’s a dream come true,” Joseph said. “It’s definitely somewhere I wanted to be when I was younger, but I never really pictured myself being here … I worked really hard to get here, and it’s very satisfying.”

The importance of ceremony

The couple read their vows in front of a small group of friends and family at the Belgo Chapel in Kelowna this spring. Photo by Joelsview Photography.

The officiant for the event, Sue Cairnie, has now performed two ceremonies for the couple, including their elopement and this latest celebration to honour their growing family.

“As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s important to me to use modern and gender-inclusive language in my ceremonies,” Sue said. 

“When queer couples find me, we work together to create a ceremony that accurately shares who they are and their love story with their loved ones. Sometimes this means switching things up and updating traditions, and I have lots of ideas for queer couples.”

She said she has learned about how sacred LGBTQ+ people are in many Indigenous cultures, as being considered sacred and “with powerful gifts to share,” which is something she wanted to help reflect in the ceremony.

“My gift is to share ceremonies that are a loving container for both the joyful and painful moments of life,” she said. 

“I’m grateful for every person who has shared their story with me so that I can share it with their community.”

So do we. That’s why we spend more time, more money and place more care into reporting each story. You’ve told us through reader surveys you want to read local journalism that goes beyond press releases and problems. You want community reporting that explains, connects and uplifts.


“The Wren’s news is refreshing, not depressing, reporting info that is negative and hurtful. It encourages positive thought, not amplifying prejudice and brutality,” wrote one reader.


This kind of reporting is made possible thanks to financial contributions, big and small, from readers like you. Together, these contributions help ensure The Wren’s reporters and contributors are paid fairly and their in-depth reporting remains freely accessible to everyone.


Will you invest in the future of in-depth community news, by and for the people of Kamloops (T’kemlúps)?

If you've read this far, you likely value in-depth community journalism.


Subscribe to The Wren.

Receive local, in-depth Kamloops (Tk'emlúps) news each week.

Your support is crucial to our journalism.

Story tips, questions about Kamloops (Tk'emlúps), and financial contributions help us tell more local stories that matter to you.

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top