Tribal Leaders Affirm Two-Spirit Support

NCAI Full AssemblySt. Paul, Minnesota The National Congress of the American Indians (NCAI) at their 2015 Mid Year Conference made Two-Spirit history with the passage of a Two-Spirit resolution declaring their “…support of the full equality of all tribal persons including Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender tribal citizens in the interest of furthering the cause of human rights and the principle of non-discrimination for all our citizens wherever they reside.”

Founded in 1944, the NCAI is the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities. NCAI, a non-profit organization, advocates for a bright future for generations to come by taking the lead to gain consensus on a constructive and promising vision for Indian Country. The organization’s policy issues and initiatives are driven by the consensus of their diverse membership, which consists of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments, tribal citizens, individuals, and Native and non-Native organizations.

“Standing in Support of our Two-Spirit Relatives in our communities and Nations” (Resolution #MSP – 2015 – 047) was reviewed and unanimously passed by the NCAI’s Human Resources Committee on the afternoon of Tuesday, June, 30. Then the next day, Wednesday, July 1, 2015, the resolution was brought to the full assembly where it passed unanimously.

Se-ah-dom Edmo (Shoshone-Bannock, Nez Perce & Yakama) is the lead coordinator of the Tribal Equity Toolkit: Tribal Resolutions and Codes for Two Spirit and LGBT Justice along with Harlan Pruden (First Nations Cree), the managing Editor of the and longtime Two-Spirit community organizer, drafted and introduced Resolution #MSP – 2015 – 047. “This is an incredibly strong statement,” said Ms. Edmo, after the vote was taken by the full assembly, “Tribes are ready; ready to do this work for the health and welfare of all their people, families and communities. I am so proud of our Native tribal leadership!”

Two members of NCAI ‘s National Native Youth Cabinet who were present for the votes. Desirae Bernice Rambler (San Carlos Apache Tribe, AZ), exclaimed, “After the full assembly passed the Two-Spirit resolution, I felt the drum beat louder. In that moment, I felt more empowered by each other by standing united as one voice. I feel everyone has the right to love and be loved regardless of gender.” Layha Spoonhunter  (Eastern Shoshone, Northern Arapaho and Oglala Lakota) said, “It is new day for Indian Country when Tribal Leaders pass a resolution in support of the Native American Two Spirit /LGBTQ community. For many, including myself, we see this as a day when our elected leaders show respect to a community who plays a vital role in our nations as leaders and as healers. For native youth nationwide, this is a defining moment, that we can proud of who we are, love who we choose and that we are re-learning our time honored ways of respect and love for everyone.”

“The passing of this resolution takes us back, back beyond the shaming and oppression of colonization of our Two-Spirit relatives. It is a statement from NCAI that the lives of our Two Spirit/LGBT people is once again important. I hope that we can use this resolution as leverage for future work and future funding to decrease the health disparities that impact our Two Spirit people, said Pamela Jumper Thurman, (Western Cherokee), a Senior Affiliate Faculty scholar at Colorado State University and who was also at the conference.

The next national conceiving of NCAI is the 72nd Annual Convention and Marketplace this October 18 to 23, 2015 at the Town and Country Resort located at 500 Hotel Cir N, San Diego, CA.

To view the full resolution click on the following link: