HIV/AIDS Activism and Advocacy in the Early Years of the Two Spirit Movement, 1988–98

Saturday, January 4, 2020: 3:30 PM
Murray Hill East (New York Hilton)
Daniel Winunwe Rivers, Ohio State University
In the late 1980s, the HIV/AIDS epidemic increasingly and disproportionately affected Native American communities. At the same time, the Two Spirit movement emerged, driven by LGBT Native American political and cultural organizing across the United States and Canada. The movement was engaged with HIV/AIDS activism from its inception, and this shaped some of its most important core commitments to indigenous concepts of care and healing. These commitments, pan-tribal in scope and driven by queer Native principles, drove Two Spirit HIV/AIDS work in Toronto, San Francisco, New York, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Los Angeles, among other spaces. In addition, as Two Spirit activists aided Native American communities on reservations struggling with the epidemic, it bridged earlier divides between LGBT Native Americans and their home communities and forged important ties between Native individuals and spaces. This paper will explore this history from the beginning of the Two Spirit movement through the late 1990s using a range of institutional and personal archival sources.
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