June 22, 2023: Two-Spirit Women Speak Out ... reviving a title of respect.
The English term “two-spirit” is attributed to Cree Elder Myra Laramee, who proposed it in 1990 at the Third Annual Inter-tribal Native American, First Nations, Gay and Lesbian Conference, in Winnipeg. It’s a translation of an Anishinaabe term. At the 1994 Indigenous Women’s Network Conference at White Earth, two women spoke out about being two-spirit, and were well received. Speakers: Tahnahga Yako Myers, Mohawk/Anishinabe, is an indigenous counselor and healer; Bonnie Blackwolf, Blackfeet nation, was an activist for indigenous people like herself who had AIDS. Marsha Gomez, a sculptor and a Founding Mother of the Indigenous Women’s Network, talked to WINGS about the impact of the women’s talks. She saw that respect formerly accorded to two-spirit indigenous persons was being revived. Presenters: Agnes Patak, Lisa Hayes, and Frieda Werden.