Two-Spirit People: Then and Now
Sex, Gender and Sexuality in Historical & Contemporary Native America
The Indigenous peoples of North America have many cultural traditions that have often been misrepresented or suppressed through the colonization process. Many of these are significantly different perspectives about sex, gender and sexuality than those imported from Western Europe. In the 21st century, one tradition that was nearly lost is what is referred to as Two-Spirit (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender Native peoples). This presentation will examine these traditions from a pre-contact and to a present day context.
Harlan Pruden (First Nations Cree/nēhiyaw), is a co-founder of the NorthEast Two-Spirit Society, a NYC based organization. Within his current position, Harlan works to organize the Two-Spirit community locally, nationally and internationally. In August 2014, Harlan was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA)where he works to provide advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary of Health & Human Services and the White House regarding programs and policies intended to promote effective prevention of HIV disease, and to advance research on HIV disease and AIDS. Harlan is one of the lead organizers of the National Confederacy of Two-Spirit Organizations; serves as the principal Two-Spirit consultant to SAMHSA's Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Center and for the University of Iowa's National Native American and Alaskan Native Addiction Technology Transfer Center, and Harlan also serves as an Honorary Committee Member of the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta, Canada. In the spring of 2013, Harlan was appointed to be an American representative to the International Indigenous Peoples Working Group on HIV/AIDS. After committing himself to sobriety 26 years ago, Harlan was the first person in his family to attend college and now devotes his life to First Nations community organizing.
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