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Bago Pride shines light on two-spirit history and community

Posted at 8:20 AM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 09:20:39-04

WINNEBAGO, Neb. (KMTV) — There are a lot of letters used to represent the LGBTQIA+ community, but one term unique to native communities is two-spirit, sometimes represented by 2-S.

Long before the stonewall riots of 1969, two-spirit people were part of the Ho-Chunk, now known as the Winnebago community.

Emmy Scott, an organizer of Bago Pride, says one term that was used translates to Blue Lake Woman, a man who was blessed by the moon and would take up the skirt. They were known as healers and prophets.

“It was a very respected role within our community," Scott said. "But now you have a lot of people in native communities that will say, ‘Well those aren’t our ways; we never had that.'”

Scott says through Christian colonization and assimilation, these roles were forgotten.

But she and Clark Alexander are making an effort in Winnebago to bring back the history and support LGBTQIA+ people in their community.

“We had a place among everybody in the population," Alexander said. "And there’s a reason for us, and a reason we are called two-spirit, and bring that visibility back to our people.”

Alexander who identifies as two-spirit says traditionally the term is thought to represent the masculine and feminine spirit in one person, but modernly it can refer to any native LGBTQIA+ person.

The two are hosting this year’s Bago Pride event in Winnebago, welcoming the community for a drive-in movie and dinner.

“We need more representation here at home so that people know that we just aren’t all partying and that we have families and kids, and we can do simple family-oriented events.”

Scott says the goal is to create a space that welcoming of all their community.

“It’s on all of us to build a stronger community, to build a stronger community," Scott said."And we do that by making sure that everybody is taken care of as we have done in the past.”

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