Indigenous Trans and Two-Spirit Stories of Resilience

November 20, 2019 is a day of great significance. The day takes places within Native Heritage Month, Trans Awareness Week, Trans Day of Remembrance, and the 50th anniversary of the occupation of Alcatraz. The event “Indigenous Trans and Two Spirit Stories of Resilience” featured six speakers who shared their stories, predominantly in the form of poetry, and read the works of other Two-Spirit poets, to share their experiences as two spirit peoples.

The event recording and index is available online

Event Information:

  • Event: Indigenous Trans and Two-Spirit Stories of Resilience
  • Summary: As part of Native Heritage Month as well as Trans Awareness Week, and in partnership with the Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Queer Studies programs, the Native American Longhouse (NAL) Eena Haws hosted the event Indigenous Trans and Two-Spirit Stories of Resilience. Leadership Liaison Kobe Natachu Taylor shared that the motivation behind the event was to create a space which centered queer, trans and Two-Spirit Indigenous people, and celebrated the resilience of Indigenous communities. It was also acknowledged that the event was occurring on Trans Day of Remembrance, the 50th anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz and the 3rd anniversary of protest actions on Backwater Bridge during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Two-Spirit, queer and trans Indigenous people were invited to share their own stories, or to read the work of Two-Spirit, queer and trans Indigenous writers. The authors whose writing and poetry were shared include Janice Gould, Arielle Twist, Doe O’Brien, Malea Powell, Qwo-Li Driskill, Beth Brant and the collective Queer Indigenous Gathering.
  • Speakers included Roman Cohen, Tiramisu Hall, Raven Waldron, Luhui Whitebear, Qwo-Li Driskill, and Kobe Natachu Taylor
  • Date: November 20, 2019
  • Location: OSU Native American Longhouse Eena Haws
  • Length: 00:50:20

Speaker Bios:

  • Kobe Natachu Taylor is an indigenous, two-spirit, queer student majoring in nutrition and a minor in queer studies at Oregon State University. Natachu Taylor hopes to take what he has learned at OSU back to their home community after graduation. As an OSU student, Natachu Taylor engages in social justice activism with the QTIPOC support network in SOL.
  • Roman Cohen was born and raised in Klamath County, OR and is a third-year undergrad double majoring in Marketing and Business Administration with an option in International Business and on a Pre-Law track. Cohen worked at the Native American Longhouse Eena Haws during the 2018-2019 academic year, and the next year worked work at ASOSU as the Director of PR & Marketing. The poems Cohen rehearsed came from personal experience and the way they have been shaped by Cohen’s communities.
  • Raven Waldron was born in 1995 and grew up in Silver Lake, Oregon with her two younger brothers, Wyatt and Levi. In 2018, she graduated from Oregon State University with an Honors Bachelors of Science in BioResource Research with an option in Toxicology and minors in Social Justice and Chemistry.  She has always been very involved in advocacy work at OSU and is proud to be a queer Navajo woman and activist. At the time of this recording, Raven is pursuing a doctorate of pharmacy here at OSU, and hopes to work in indigenous healthcare in the future. 
  • Luhui Whitebear is a member of the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation and multiple-degree OSU alum (ES, ANTH, WGSS, QS). Her hometown is Coastal Chumash territory in what is now called Santa Barbara, CA although she has called Oregon home for many years. Luhui is a mother, poet, and activist that is passionate about disrupting systems of oppression.
  • Tiramisu Hall is a mixed-race Two-Spirit artist of Tsalagi, Sicilian, and Irish ascent. She is a parent of three and second-year graduate student in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Master’s program, and Queer Studies minor. Her art focuses on storytelling through a number of mediums, including: writing, inked line-art, woodcarving, painting, and (rarely) poetry.
  • Qwo-Li Driskill is a Cherokee poet, scholar, and activist raised in rural Colorado. Driskill earned a BA from the University of Northern Colorado, an MA from Antioch University Seattle, and a PhD from Michigan State University. Driskill has taught at Antioch University Seattle, Texas A&M University, and Oregon State University, and currently serves as Director of Graduate Studies in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) at Oregon State University.

Poet Bios:

  • Beth E. Brant, Degonwadonti, or Kaieneke’hak was a Mohawk writer, essayist, and poet of the Bay of Quinte Mohawk from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Reserve in Ontario, Canada. She is the author of Mohawk Trail (1985), Food and Spirits (1991) and Writing as Witness (1994). She edited the anthology A Gathering of Spirit: A Collection by North American Indian Women (1988) and I’ll Sing ’til the Day I Die: Conversations with Tyendinaga Elders (1995). Her work has been included in the anthologies Living the Spirit: A Gay American Indian Anthology (1988), Best Lesbian Erotica 1997, Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals (1998), and Native Poetry in Canada: A Contemporary Anthology (2001). (Wikipedia & Poetry Foundation)
  • Doe O’Brien: Two Spirit Wife and mother. Writer of short stories, some poetry and a novel that needs to be edited. HIV activist and Researcher. PhD Education Candidate. (@Wrterdoe, Twitter)
  • Janice Gould (1949—2019) was a Koyangk’auwi Maidu writer and scholar. She was the author of Beneath My Heart, Earthquake Weather and co-editor with Dean Rader of Speak to Me Words: Essays on Contemporary American Indian Poetry. Her book Doubters and Dreamers (2011) was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award and the Binghamton University Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award. Gould’s poetic efforts were recognized by the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice in 1992. (Wikipedia)
  • Malea Powell is a Professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures at Michigan State University as well as a faculty member in American Indian and Indigenous Studies. She is the incoming editor of College Composition & Communication, lead researcher for the Digital Publishing Lab at MSU, director of the Cultural Rhetorics Consortium, founding editor of constellations: a journal of cultural rhetorics, past chair of the CCCC, and editor emerita of SAIL: Studies in American Indian Literatures. A widely published scholar and poet, her current book project, This Is A Story, examines the continuum of indigenous rhetorical production in North America, from beadwork to alphabetic writing. Powell is a mixed-blood of Indiana Miami, Eastern Shawnee, and Euroamerican ancestry. In her spare time, she hangs out with eccentric Native women artists, poets, and aunties, does beadwork, and writes romance novels. (Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures, MSU)
  • Arielle Twist is a Nehiyaw, Two-Spirit, Trans Woman that creating to reclaim and harness ancestral magic and memories. Originally from George Gordon First Nation, Saskatchewan. She is now based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is an author and multidisciplinary artist. Within her short career, she has attended a residency at Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity, has work published with Them, Canadian ArtThe Fiddlehead, PRISM InternationalThis Magazine, and CBC Art and has been Nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Shortlisted in The National Magazine Awards, both in 2019. ‘Disintegrate/Dissociate’ is her first collection of poetry. (arielletwist.com)
  • Queer Indigenous Gathering is a celebration of queer indigeneity and community, annually hosted by the Queer Indigenous Studies class at Southern Oregon University. They bring several speakers who present on elements of sexuality and gender from Native perspectives. (A Queer Indigenous Gathering Facebook event page)
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in OMA and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.