Two-Spirit leaders participated in the first-ever Disability Futures Virtual Festival that celebrated and honored the work of the Disability Futures Fellows and their collaborators through performances, conversations and a virtual dance party.
This virtual festival was produced by the Ford Foundation in partnership with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and United States Artists and featured two days of art and ideas from some of today’s leading disabled artists, writers, performers, and designers like Two-Spirit artists: Jen Deerinwater (Tsalagi-a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) and Tony Enos (Echota Cherokee).
On July 20, Two-Spirit, disabled, Indigenous artists Jen Deerinwater, Marcy Angeles, and Tony Enos in a conversation moderated by Rocío Aranda-Alvarado exploring the challenges faced by Indigenous and Two-Spirit artists and communities with a lack of digital access and the digital divide – the gap between those who do and do not have access to high-speed internet service, cell phones and computer technology – is long-standing and pronounced in Indigenous communities making it difficult for Indigenous artists without access to share their work with the broader community.
This session was capped off by these talented artists who premiered an original song, Others Like Me, written, recorded, and produced in preparation for this virtual festival.
“It was important to me that the song and music video be uplifting without being trauma porn,” Tony Enos shared with the Two-Spirit Journal. “I wanted to honor the feelings that people who have health challenges – or who are ‘differently abled’ – may have, and I wanted them to feel seen. Living with HIV, anxiety, and complex PTSD myself, and continuing on my road of spiritual recovery from codependency, I wanted the chance to say ‘keep going, it’s better than the alternative.’ I wanted the chance to say ‘this too shall pass,’ and the opportunity to say ‘it gets better.’”
Enos continues, “My prayer is that the song and video will be good medicine for our community and for all communities facing challenges, and who are on the road to healing.”