On Aug 23 and 24, Se-ah-dom Edmo of Indigenous Ways of Knowing (IWOK) and Western States Center (WSC) led a coalition which included Basic Rights Oregon’s Racial Justice and Alliance Buliding Program, to review interviews conducted with 15 Tribal leaders from around the Northwest regarding Two Spirit** equality for the Tribal Equity Toolkit. These Tribal leaders were interviewed on their perceptions of Two Spirit inclusion, obstacles and opportunities for Two Spirit equality, and how to talk about colonization, homophobia, transphobia and racism. This coalition of Native American community members and allies, synthesized the interviews and compiled emerging themes to share with Tribal communities. Basic Rights Oregon was proud to send Peter Dakota Molof and Homero Luna to participate on this coalition as members of the Basic Rights Oreson’s Two Spirit Work Group.
In mid-September of 2013, at the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Conference, this coalition presented findings from these interviews to hundreds of Tribal leaders to move them in support of Two Spirit families within their own communities. Because of this powerful presentation, IWOK and WSC increased the number of Tribal leaders who were willing to take a public stand from 60 leaders in 2012 to 100 leaders currently in 2013.
When asked about the next steps for this work, Se-ah-dom said, “We want to make sure that we set priorities for achieving equal protection for all Tribal People and Families…We would encourage everyone to work together so that we can support all Two Spirit families and people.” Se-ah-dom will also be awarded the prestigious “Fighting Spirit Award of 2013” by BRO, which is awarded to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the LGBT community, with their leadership, visibility, and impact. She will be honored during BRO’s annual gala IGNITE on Friday, October 11th.
For more information on Indigenous Ways of Knowing, click here.
For more information on Western States Center, click here.
** The term Two Spirit was developed by LGBT Native Americans as a way to reclaim traditional histories, in which LGBT people were often greatly respected for their tribal contributions. These histories were eradicated through colonialism, but have recently resurfaced. Many LGBT Native Americans identify as Two Spirit.