My wife and I just got back from a Two Spirit Gathering on Salish & Kootenai Territory in Montana. It was amazing to see so many of my fellow Two Spirit kindred spirits all in one place! It was held in a very liberal Methodist church camp up against the pristine and very large Flat Head lake.
We had traditional talk circles and shared where we come from and how we support our community and culture. There were some games like the Native Plains Indians “Stick games”, a “trade blanket’ game which went awry when many of us offered what some folks considered ceremonial so that one was chalked up to a learning experience. There was a lot of that. Each of our cultures have different taboos and protocols. It was interesting and rewarding to navigate all of that and still have fun. We had a two-night Talent Show event that was a really good time. Many of us had bought these large rainbow fans at the gathering that had Montana Two Spirit Gathering written across them- so instead of clapping- everyone just snapped their fans!
My good friend Ruth Villasenor led a Womyn identified group by the serene (*but not always!) Flat Head Lake. We sang a song with our hand drums for our Indigenous Murdered and Missing Womyn and girls. #MMIWG It felt really powerful and I felt their spirits with us. Here is a little story as shared by Aurora Marnea NAHC about how this song has been resurrected in recent years. “A few years back around the time. Of Idle No More when people started singing the Warrior Women’s song, I heard that some CA Native Indians said that the Warrior Woman’s Song was a CA Native Song, before we sang it we wanted to make sure that we knew where this sing came from and background and origin. I put a message out to a sister in Anishanabe country who sent the message out, I got a message from a Russell Wallace whom said the song comes from the Lil Wat Nation in British Columbia and in the early days originally was known as the mother earth song, had disappeared or some years and when it came back, it was during a time that Martina Pierre was needed healing and prayers for her daughter, the spirits told her to sing this song and it would help them, it came back to her as the Warrior Woman’s song. That’s the way I heard it.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neVhqQk-EyM
This was the first time our TS Youth attended. It became aware to me that many of us have been so focused on healing from our own traumas that these sweet children need us to be there for them. I vowed to myself to become more active with our youth.
We kept a sacred fire in a tepee the whole gathering. Each of us took a shift or two to watch the fire. The event ended the last night with the anticipated TS Pow Wow and the crowning of Ms/ Mr. Two Spirit who will represent us throughout the country for the year before the next crowing takes place.
It was so much fun! Here is to new friends! and friends to come!
If you are Two Spirit and would like to attend please contact:
*The Flat Head lake was often serene, but it seemed when cleansing needed to happen the winds would become fierce and the waves came crashing in, often times accompanied by rain- which was not in the forecast.