Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's a good day to be Indigenous

Dan Waters is a snarky 22 year old queer biracial wonderment who is part White, Portuguese, and Native American (Wampanoag-Kiowa). He currently lives in Massachusetts, and plans to become a Lawyer. That is, if he can survive Algonquin language classes and polyamorous dating right now! He also identifies as Two Spirit, and prefers male pronouns, but cherishes his female body that he was given graciously by the Creator. He blogs at Identity Exposure.
 
So I have been watching and reading quite a lot of queer indigenous framed things lately, and I have to say, it makes me doubly happy. In the words of Randy Peone on K-REZ Radio (Sherman Alexie’s Smoke Signals) “It’s a good day to be indigenous!” So here’s a small round up of stuff for you curious folk and other indigenous LGBTQIA folk.

I am really loving Qwo-Li Driskell’s stuff, and his essays are thought provoking and tinged with academia and traditionalism. I definitely like his compilation with others “25 Ways to Tokenize or Alienate A Non-White Person Around You”. Qwo-Li is mixed blood Cherokee/Tsalagi, and two spirit and identifies as queer. He has a book that is available on Amazon, titled Queer Indeginous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics, and Literature. I’d love to contact him to gush about how much I love his writing, but it’d probably end up in a very creepy “OMG PLEASE WRITE SOME THOUGHT PROVOKING SENTENCE I LOVE IIIIIIIIIIT!” with hearts drawn around it.

I also recently watched The Business of Fancy Dancing, another of Sherman Alexie’s works. It stars Evan Adams, who is a gay Coast Salish from British Columbia. You may remember him as Thomas Builds-A-Fire in Smoke Signals. In this movie, he plays as Seymour Polatkin who is a gay poet who is successful and removed himself from the reservation after getting accepted into college. His journey is unique, and the scenes are just fascinating and a mix of true-indie filming and artistic representations. I particularly liked seeing him do the Shawl Dance, which is typically done by women. It also discussed something personally that struck me: Polatkin admits he has slept with majority white men and no Indians. It also goes in depth about the idea of “having to play Indian” for onlookers, and the dual baggage of not fitting in at the rez and in the white world either.

A movie I am waiting to see (I am waiting to order it once I got money) is Two Spirits, a documentary film that discusses the murder of Navajo/Diné youth Fred Martinez who identified as a gay male and often expressed himself with feminine things – a “nádleehí” as the Diné say, as one of the outliers of two-gender society. He was 16 when he was murdered. In June 2011, PBS will be airing this documentary. To keep up on when it will air (and most likely will air live online as well, since PBS does that), go to this post and sign up for the newsletter or watch my tweets because y’all know I’ll be gushing about it. National Native News also did a piece about Fred and violence against two spirit people, which you can listen to here. Just scroll down to January 26th and right click save on the “listen” section.

And…drumroll pleeeeeease!

Jessica Yee’s book, Feminism FOR REAL. She is a mixed-blood, and as her twitter says “multiracial Two Spirit Indigenous hip hop feminist reproductive justice freedom fighter “. I am eagerly awaiting my copy, and I secretly think a mountie is going to hand deliver it. I finished all my Deloria Jr. books, so I have been gnawing at my fingers for something indigenous, incredible, and radical. It’s an anthology, so I hope to learn some new folks’ names and follow them like the weird reader that I am. As much as I love my reading group at Fangs for The Fantasy, I had too much tween-drama for my liking! I am ready to curl up with a Pendleton and read some great voices.

You know what, y'all? I'm going to start a mini-lution. I claim this upcoming week as The Week of Queer Indigenous! May 8th – 14th, I declare you Queer Indigenous Week! Tweet this, spread it, blog it, facebook it! IT WILL LIVE! HASHTAG #QIW!!