In Focus: Two Spirit Identities Find Representation At BSU
For centuries in many Native American tribes, there have been people that embody both female and male identities. The Bemidji State American Indian Resource Center held an inaugural two spirit awareness day to honor the identity.
The idea to hold the event came after Arnold Dahl-Wooley, a local two spirit person, gave a talk about his identity at the AIRC earlier this year.
Before colonization, ‘two spirit’ meant men within the tribes that carried out female role, also known as the berdache.
But over time, many in the community felt they couldn’t embrace their identity and were outcasts because of it. Now, many like Dahl-Wooley are reclaiming it.
For those who are still struggling, the AIRC invited organizations to come provide resources for two spirit people young, old and everything in between. Northwoods Caregivers consultant Glenda Duhamel advocates for better LGBT health care.
It’s one of the many issues affecting two spirit people. The World AIDS Action Network is helping inform others about the increased risk for acquiring HIV and the higher rates of substance abuse within the community.
Julie Kurschner-Pineda was excited to see them handing out overdose reversal kits and other supplies.
The AIRC hopes to expand the event in the future to show others that they’re not alone.