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46 T I K K U N W W W. T I K K U N . O R G J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 0 F or many Native people in this hemisphere, the past forty or so years have been a season of recovery and revitalization. With the rekindling of pride and the exercise of ancestral domain, following centuries of imposed violence and poverty, Indigenous people here and around the globe were acknowledged by the worldcommunitywiththepassagein2007oftheUnitedNations International Declaration of Indigenous Rights. The ratification was decades in the making. Canada and the United States may follow the lead of Australia and New Zealand, which reversed their negative votes, to make the Assembly’s action unanimous. About twenty years before the Quincentennial observations in 1992, there was one LGBT Native organization in the United States and one in Vancouver, followed in the mid-1980s by a groupinWinnipeg.Nowwehaveapproximatelyfifteenorganizations and groups in the United States and another dozen in Canada—this does not include Central or South America. Our organizing has been rooted in cultural and spiritual practice, according to principles and beliefs both common and inherent to our many hundreds of ethnically distinct tribes. Early explorers and adventurers from Europe were outraged by the fact that many Two Spirit people (who might be called gay, lesbian , bisexual, or transgender in American English) among Indigenous cultures were persons of standing and rank in their communities. They were targeted at the beginning for extermination, particularly by the Spanish, from Florida to California. Five centuries later, we are revitalizing sacred teachings, rebuilding communities and networks through our languages, through our ceremonies, and by working shoulder to shoulder within our communities. We could accomplish little if we did not have the support of our elders and medicine people. The transformation from introduced homophobia to mutual respect has taken decades of patient work, as we all recall at the same time, slowly, that Two Spirit people have a place in the circle. Some people have referred to this global process as the Mending of the Sacred Hoop, or of the Circle of Life. At nearly the beginning of our most energized international organizing efforts, HIV began simultaneously to impact our communities at a staggering level—just as we were beginning to quietly recover our place among our peoples. The recovery took place because we remembered. All we had to do was help other people to remember too. Our societies and cultures had delved deeply with inquiry for thousands of years into questions about social structure and spiritual and physical well-being. Some of it has been documented, some of it has not. Our roles are now sometimes adapted to the expectations of prevalent society, wherever we may live and in whichever hemisphere. But there are many who continue to fulfill the role of Two Spirit—an androgynous person. Today, some are greatly respected in their communities, but many others suffer violence and worse. We are maturing slowly, as all large communities of people do over time (when we’re fortunate), over thousands of years at a time; and we can see a day when we are once again different —and not different. In a good way. I QUEER SPIRITUALITY AND POLITICS TwoSpiritActivism: MendingtheSacredHoop by Richard (Anguksuar) LaFortune Anguksuar has been organizing and administering Native human service and culture programs for thirty years, and for the past six years has served as national director of Two Spirit Press Room. He also directs the Fred Martinez Project. Native leaders Joey Criddle and Sewella Mike take part in the 20th International Two Spirit Gathering in Minnesota. COURTESY OF THE FRED MARTINEZ PROJECT (WWW.TWOSPIRITS.ORG) Queer_spirituality_1.qxd:Politics 6/1/10 5:05 PM Page 46 ...


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