Thank you for joining us for our 2nd Annual Arizona Two Spirit Powwow!! We had 800+ people attend, 20+ non-profits, 15+ arts/craft vendors and 64 registered dancers (last year we had 24) so it was a huge success! A sincere "thank you" for being part of it. Please enjoy the photos below and a recap......
Event Recap - Prepared by Sheila Lopez (Lead Event Coordinator)
Event date/time/location: Saturday, February 29, 2020 from Noon to 5pm at South Mountain Community College, 7050 S 24th St, Phoenix, AZ 85042
Summary: The event brought together Native LGBTQ/Two Spirit and ally communities from across Arizona and the country. The day was filled with traditional Native blessings, dancing, non-profit information booths, movie screening of “Two-Spirts”, arts/crafts and traditional Native food. With this gathering we were able to create a Safe Space for all our participants and brought healing to the community.
Attendance: College staff estimated ~ 800+ attendees visited the day of the event (this was based on other events held at the college). We estimated that we had ~500 stay for the entire day.
Community Organizations/Non-profits: We had a total of 26 non-profits participate. The organizations that participated either focused on supporting LGBTQ individuals or Native American health and wellbeing. We also partnered with Native Health who offered free HIV testing during the event.
Food vendors and artists: We had 15+ artists and 3 food vendors were available for our attendees to purchase arts/crafts and food.
Event Overview: The event started with a blessing from a local healer, Jayson AndrewMichale Enos (Tohono O’odham / Gila River), a Two Spirit welcome from Mr. Southwest Two Spirit, Iann Austin (Gila River), a welcome from the Native PFLAG Founder and President, Sheila Lopez (Navajo / Mexican American) and the South Mountain Community College Vice President, Dr. Janet Ortega. We began the powwow with grand entry, which is when the flags are brought in along with all the dancers and royalty. The US, Arizona State, Rainbow and Trans flags were brought in by LGBTQ2S community members and their allies. We also welcomed all tribes to bring in their Nation’s flag and the following tribes joined us: Salt River Indian Community, Gila River Community, La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians (California), Navajo Nation and Colorado River Indian Tribe. At grand entry, “head dancers” bring all dancers into the powwow arena, below is the list of our head dancers:
- Sky Duncan, is an artist and hoop-dancer. Sky is from Mesa, AZ, and is San Carlos Apache, Arikara, Hidatsa, and Mandan. He’s currently working on finishing his studies at The Institute of American Indian Arts, focusing on painting and performing arts. Sky has traveled to many countries showcasing his hoop-dancing since the age of 3. This past Fall, Sky also made the cover & spread of Echo Magazine which highlighted his year of art shows and performances. Sky Duncan comes from a Native family dance group, YellowBird Productions.
- Maurisa Two Two, is from Tohono O’odham and Oglala Lakota Nations. She is a Nurse at a Skilled Nursing Facility. Maurisa enjoys dancing, traveling, crafting and spending time with her family and three dogs..
- Dwayne Peirce, was raised in the village of Wa:k, Wa:k District of the Tohono O'odham Nation just south of Tucson. He is Tohono O'odham & Cayuse (Confederated Tribes on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Dwayne went to St. John's Indian School and graduated in 1975. He worked 27 years as a Union Steelworker & Carpenter, working all over AZ and NM. When he retired in 2011, he went back to school & earned a B.A. in Anthropology & a M.A. in History. He is currently an adjunct professor, Tohono O'odham History and Culture, at their Community College. He still maintains his ties to his communities. Dwayne has been with his partner going on 18 years.
What made our powwow different?
Traditionally, powwow categories are listed with the gender binary (“Women” and “Men”). However, many tribes recognize more than two genders so the powwow committee decided to remove gender from all categories. This gave all dancers an opportunity to participate in the category they wish to. We welcomed all gender expressions and honored those that don’t identify with the gender binary. Our head dancers represented the gender binary along with Two Spirit people. With this simple act we created a welcoming and safe environment for all attendees.
How many other Two Spirit powwows are there?
We are only aware of two other Two Spirit powwows. One is held in San Francisco, hosted by the Bay Area American Indian Two Spirit Powwow (BAAITS). The other took place at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas but hasn’t been repeated.
https://www.facebook.com/pg/nativepflag/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2987892891221423 If you use these photos please give credit to the person that took them (listed in the caption), thanks!
Powwow Committee Members:
Sheila Lopez, Native PFLAG Founder & President / Lead Event Organizer / Powwow Co-Chair
Iann Austin, Mr. Southwest Two Spirit, Native PFLAG Vice-President / Powwow Co-Chair
Ryan Rumley, Powwow Expert / Master of Ceremonies
Te Titla, Native PFLAG Secretary / Miss Apache Diva / Miss Supreme PRIDE
Gerard Begay, SMCC / Native Student Group Connection / Overall Support / Royalty
Micheon Gorman, Phoenix Indian Center / Volunteer Coordinator
Joshua Francisco, Phoenix Indian Center / Volunteer Coordinator
Dustin Griswold, Phoenix Indian Center / Volunteer Coordinator & T-Shirts
Don Jensen-Bobadilla, SMCC / Facilities / Security / Student Group Connection
Timothy Ruise, Avellaka Program, La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians (San Diego) / Powwow Giveaways
Sister Navi Ho, Eddie George, Grand Canyon Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence / Powwow Fundraising
Xyra Flores, Trans Queer Pueblo / Powwow Indigenous Performance
Powwow Sponsors: Native PFLAG, Phoenix PRIDE Community Grants Program, South Mountain Community College, Phoenix Indian Center, Native Health, Trans Queer Pueblo, The Grand Canyon Sister of Perpetual Indulgence and Avellaka Circle (Rainbow of Truth).