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Two Spirit people: The power within

Red River Community College, Oct 20, 2014

alex wilson

on 21 October 2014

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Transcript of Two Spirit people: The power within

Two spirit people: Coming in and the power within
Governmental policies and actions have threatened integrity of Native peoples' families, relationships + other loving partnerships, communities and nations
Aggressive assimilation policies have attempted to displace our own understandings, practices + teachings around sexuality, gender and positive relationships and replaced with Judeo Christian
Canadian Context
2003 most provinces
2005 Federal Civil Marriage Act
gender neutral marriage definition
2013 inclusion of 'gender identity' in Charter

Indian Act
Residential /Boarding School Era
Assimilation policy
Religious perspectives and actions
Gender Variance in Native Nations
long history of gender variance
sex = biological
gender= cultural
term 2 spirit
Impacts of colonization
lgbt Aboriginal youth suicide rates 10x higher than any other group
2S male suicide attempt 21%
2S female suicide attempt 39%
Transgendered Native suicide attempt 56%
high homelessness rates
(K. Walters, SAMHSA NA Center for Excellence)
Combination of anti-trans with structural + individual racism results in devastating levels of discrimination
extreme poverty (23 % less than 10k/year)
high HIV rates
high suicide rates
Injustice at every turn: A look at American Indian and Alaskan Native respondents in National trans discrimination survey (2012)
Coming In
School Climate Survey
70% lgbt youth of color experience harrassment at school (verbal, physical, sexual)
10% hear homophobic comments from teachers
Egale School Climate Survey, 2011
Institutional forms of racism, sexism, classism +homophobia interconnect
Religious attitudes are a major source of prejudice (Human Rights Commission 2009)
Coming In
Establishing relationships
Fragmentation of self
Cutting loose
Where we belong/where we don't belong
Coming in
Disciplining theory and practice
LGBT Native people identities represent interconnection of spirituality, sexuality, culture, gender and land
empowered + resilient identities formed in response to + in face of overwhelmingly harmful governmental policies
individuals and groups alike followed process of coming in to empowered
Idle No More
resist colonial ideologies about sexuality, gender and legal rights
resist hierarchical oppressive colonial laws
address homophobia/transphobia in our own communities ex. "gender roles"
each Nation and each individual has a right to be sovereign
body sovereignty and gender self-determination
The power within-N.Morrisseau
U of S Discrimination Policy
gender, gender identity,
gender expression and two -spirit
passed by Board of Governors
March 18, 2014!!
queer sweat
rainbow flag at grand entry
Change can be:
What will you do?
“Indigenous methodologies are as old as our ceremonies and our nations. They are with us and have always been with us. Our Indigenous cultures are rich with ways of gathering, discovering, and uncovering knowledge. They are as near as our dreams and as close as our relationships” (L. Cardinal, 2004).

Success in answering the research questions would depend, in large part, on how the answer(s) were sought.

Because the answer(s) could only come from two-spirit people, project had to be conducted in ways congruous with the knowledge, experiences, values and ethics of two-spirit people.

1990’s Gathering
1993 Declaration at AAA
Recent publications, organizations and gatherings

Two Spirit Movement

Aboriginal people who are gay or lesbian;
Contemporary Aboriginal gender categories;
Traditions wherein multiple gender categories and sexualities are institutionalized in Aboriginal cultures;
Tradition of gender diversity in other, non-Native American cultures;
Transvestites, transsexuals, and transgendered people;
And drag queens and butches. (Jacobs, Thomas and Lang)

Contemporary Definition

Typically convey the Christian assumption that homosexuality is wrong and are heavily vested in a binary (male/female) gender construction.
Exoticized and romanticized First Nations
“The majority [of the Choctaws] are addicted to sodomy. These corrupt men …wear their hair long and a short skirt like the women” (Angelino & Shedd, 1955, p. 122).
“did not even have a word for [the] “beastly and loathsome sin” of sodomy”

Anthropological writing

Psychological and ed. literature on Identity development
Anthropological Writings
1800’s to late 20th Century
Gender variance
Poetry and prose written by Two-spirit people

Research as ceremony (S. Wilson)
Ancestors and community tell us when it is right and when it is not right
Communality of knowledge
Relational accountability

Indigenous paradigm

What does the term two-spirited mean?
How does the empowered identity of a two-spirit person appear within the context of sustained homophobia, sexism, and racism?

Research Questions

Violence dating back to Columbus
Dance to the berdache- G. Caitlin
Red River Community College, Oct 21,2014
Two Spirit Researchers
Qwo-li Driscoll
Karina Walters
Raven Heavy Runner
Wesley Thomas
Red River Community College
inclusion of 4 categories on application form
Coming in to the circle

that's so gay.....
Has anyone ever said something
to you that has hurt you beyond belief?
photo: Winnipeg Free Press
Dr. Alex Wilson
faggot= bundle of sticks
showing love in our actions
Full transcript