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Indigenous Trans and Two Spirit Stories of Resilience

Oregon State University

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0:00 - Welcome and Land Acknowledgement

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Partial Transcript: Hello everybody, welcome. Before we start the event, I want to acknowledge whose land we're on.

Segment Synopsis: Native American Longhouse Ena Haws Leadership Liasion Kobe Natachu Taylor welcomes the guests and begins the event with a land acknowledgement.

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0:46 - Event Introduction

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Partial Transcript: So this space is really to uplift Indigenous people and make sure their stories are being told and not just in the past tense but in the present tense. We are still living, we are still part of the community, we are still here to share our stories, and our power is something to be reckoned with.

Segment Synopsis: Kobe shares the motivation behind hosting the event. The event center's queer, trans and Two-Spirit Indigenous people and the resilience of Indigenous communities. Kobe also notes that the event is occurring on Trans Day of Remembrance, the 50th anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz and the 3rd anniversary of protest actions on Backwater Bridge during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

Keywords: Backwater Bridge; Dakota Access Pipeline protests; Indigenous; Occupation of Alcatraz; Queer; Trans; Trans Day of Rememberance; Two Spirit

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2:32 - 'It'll Be Easier' - Kobe Natachu Taylor

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Partial Transcript: My Indigenous, queer, fat, Two-Spirit body has endured and I am still here.......My Indigeneity is sacred, my Spirits are sacred, my fat body is sacred.

Segment Synopsis: Kobe Natachu Taylor shares their piece titled "It'll Be Easier". They share their experiences as an Indigenous, fat, queer, Two-Spirit person. They name these multiple intersecting identities as sources of strength, power and resistance.

Kobe Natachu Taylor is an indigenous, two-spirit, queer student majoring in nutrition and a minor in queer studies at Oregon State University. Natachu Taylor hopes to take what he has learned at OSU back to their home community after graduation. As an OSU student, Natachu Taylor engages in social justice activism with the QTIPOC support network in SOL.

Keywords: access; assimilation; body dysmorphia; fat; Indigeneity; Indigenous; language; policing; queer; sacred; trauma; Two-Spirit

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5:11 - 'My Tired Soul' - Roman Cohen

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Partial Transcript: Why do you try to manipulate me? Is it because I'm queer? Is it because I'm feminine? Is it because of the color of my skin?

Segment Synopsis: Roman Cohen shares their short poem 'My Tired Soul'. Roman Cohen was born and raised in Klamath County, OR and is a third-year undergrad double majoring in Marketing and Business Administration with an option in International Business and on a Pre-Law track. Cohen worked at the Native American Longhouse Eena Haws during the 2018-2019 academic year, and the next year worked work at ASOSU as the Director of PR & Marketing. The poems Cohen rehearsed came from personal experience and the way they have been shaped by Cohen’s communities.

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6:16 - Qwo-Li Driskill reads poem by Janice Gould

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Partial Transcript: This is a poem by Janice Gould who is a Maidu, Two-Spirit and queer writer.

Segment Synopsis: Qwo-Li Driskill reads Janice Gould's poem 'I Learn a Simple Lesson About Our Society'. Janice Gould was a Koyangk'auwi Maidu Two-Spirit and queer writer. The poem touches on topics such as incarceration, police violence, addiction and disability.

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10:03 - Kobe Natachu Taylor shares an untitled piece

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Partial Transcript: My eyes open to find the stars that made way for the silver moon that looks as though I can touch it. I stretch my arms thinking that it is within grasp. Just before [I am able to lay a fingertips], I hear my name being called from within my home.

Segment Synopsis: Kobe shares another piece they have written. In this piece they speak about their relationship with home.

Keywords: ancestors; home; land

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12:47 - Untitled - Tiramisu Hall

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Partial Transcript: Siyo nigadv. Tiramisu dagwado. Hey everybody, my name is Tira.

Segment Synopsis: Tiramisu Hall shares an untitled poem they have written. In this poem they use a mixture of Tsalagi and English, and make connections between language, body and land.

Tiramisu Hall is a mixed-race Two-Spirit artist of Tsalagi, Sicilian, and Irish ascent. She is a parent of three and second-year graduate student in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Master’s program, and Queer Studies minor. Her art focuses on storytelling through a number of mediums, including: writing, inked line-art, woodcarving, painting, and (rarely) poetry.

Keywords: body; language; Tsalagi

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14:01 - 'Enough' - Raven Waldron

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Partial Transcript: Hi y'all, my name is Raven. I use she or they pronouns.

Segment Synopsis: Raven Waldron shares their piece titled 'Enough'. They share their experiences finding self-love, community and empowerment as a multiracial Indigenous person.

She was born in 1995 and grew up in Silver Lake, Oregon with her two younger brothers, Wyatt and Levi. In 2018, she graduated from Oregon State University with an Honors Bachelors of Science in BioResource Research with an option in Toxicology and minors in Social Justice and Chemistry. She has always been very involved in advocacy work at OSU and is proud to be a queer Navajo woman and activist. At the time of this recording, Raven is pursuing a doctorate of pharmacy here at OSU, and hopes to work in indigenous healthcare in the future.

Keywords: ancestors; blood quantum; colonization; community; heritage; injustice; invisibility; language; Native; opression; stories

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19:17 - Qwo-Li Driskill reads poem by Arielle Twist

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Partial Transcript: This is poem by Arielle Twist who is from George Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan.

Segment Synopsis: Qwo-Li Driskill reads a short poem by Arielle Twist titled 'Chords'. Arielle Twist is a Nehiyaw, Two-Spirit, Trans Woman. Originally from George Gordon First Nation, Saskatchewan, she is now based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Keywords: home; prairies; songs

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20:02 - Luhui Whitebear reads poem by Doe O'Brien (previously published as D.M. O'Brien)

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Partial Transcript: My name is Luhui Whitebear and I'm going to read a poem by D.M. O'Brien titled 'Living Memory'.

Segment Synopsis: Luhui Whitebear reads a poem titled 'Living Memory' by Doe O'Brien (previously published as D.M. O'Brien). Doe is a Two Spirit storyteller, community based researcher and PhD student in Education. She has worked for 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations for 7 years and the Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy for 14 years.

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21:51 - Untitled - Kobe Natachu Taylor

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Partial Transcript: As the sun rises, these words which have been passed through many generations leave my lips.......

Segment Synopsis: Kobe Natachu Taylor reads a piece they have written.

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23:15 - ‘To the Graduating Class of Chiloquin' - Roman Cohen

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Partial Transcript: Hello again, I have a second poem that I wrote.

Segment Synopsis: Roman Cohen reads their poem ‘To the Graduating Class of Chiloquin'. They share that the poem is about their experiences growing up in Chiloquin, Oregon and the class that graduated with them.

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25:25 - Qwo-Li Driskill reads poem by Malea Powell

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Partial Transcript: This is by Malea Powell, who is a Indiana Miami.

Segment Synopsis: Qwo-Li Driskill reads a poem by Malea Powell titled 'A meditation partially composed in a D.C. coffeehouse because there isn't anything better to do in this city of dead white fathers'. Malea Powell is of Indiana Miami, Eastern Shawnee, and Euroamerican ancestry. She is a Professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures at Michigan State University as well as a faculty member in American Indian and Indigenous Studies.

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28:59 - Luhui Whitebear reads poem by Qwo-Li Driskill

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Partial Transcript: I'm going to read one of Qwo-Li's poems.....

Segment Synopsis: Luhui Whitebear reads a poem by Qwo-Li Driskill titled 'Song of Removal'. Qwo-Li Driskill is a (non-citizen) Cherokee Two-Spirit and Queer writer, activist, and performer also of African, Irish, Lenape, Lumbee, and Osage ascent.

Keywords: borders; burial mounds; land; military occupation; removed; reservations; resist; Wounded Knee

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33:15 - 'Mirace: A Letter to Myself' - Kobe Natachu Taylor

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Partial Transcript: I call this one 'Miracle: A Letter to Myself'. They speak about the power and resilience they hold in their body.

Segment Synopsis: Kobe shares another piece which is titled 'Miracle: A Letter to Myself'.

Keywords: ancestors; nation; trauma

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34:38 - 'Stomp Dance: Two-Spirit Gathering. A Giveaway Poem' - Qwo-Li Driskill

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Partial Transcript: Stomp Dance: Two-Spirit Gathering. A Giveaway Poem. After the Indian drag queens and kings shake their booties to Adele and Lady Gaga....

Segment Synopsis: Qwo-Li Driskill shares their poem titled 'Stomp Dance: Two-Spirit Gathering. A Giveaway Poem'.

Keywords: drag; language; manifest destiny; resistance; songs; stomp dance; stories; Two-Spirit; Water Spider

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38:15 - ‘Do You Understand What Loss Is?’ - Roman Cohen

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Partial Transcript: OK, this is my last one, I promise

Segment Synopsis: Roman Cohen shares their piece titled ‘Do You Understand What Loss Is?’.

Keywords: balance; growth; hope; loss; nature; self; strength

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39:30 - Luhui Whitebear reads poems from 'Queer Indigenous Gathering'

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Partial Transcript: Hi again, I forgot to say earlier too that I'm the assistant director at the Native American Longhouse Eena Haws and also a PhD candidate in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program.

Segment Synopsis: Luhui Whitebear reads two poems from a zine by the 'Queer Indigenous Gathering'. The 'Queer Indigenous Gathering' is a celebration of queer Indigeneity and community, annually hosted by the Queer Indigenous Studies class at Southern Oregon University.

Keywords: abuse; addiction; ancestors; celebrate; community; elder; place; queer; space; traditions; Two-Spirit

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44:51 - Qwo-Li Driskill reads excerpt from 'A Simple Act' by Beth Brant

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Partial Transcript: This is an excerpt from a longer piece called the Simple Act by Beth Brant who was a Mohawk Two-Spirit and queer writer.

Segment Synopsis: Beth E. Brant, Degonwadonti, or Kaieneke’hak was a Mohawk writer, essayist, and poet of the Bay of Quinte Mohawk from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Reserve in Ontario, Canada.

Keywords: memory; power; truth; write

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47:11 - Raven Waldron shares an untitled piece

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Partial Transcript: I've got one more for y'all. My name is Raven. This one is untitled.

Segment Synopsis: Raven Waldron shares another piece in which they speak about coming out as a queer Indigenous person.

Keywords: gay; home; identity; Indigenous; love; queer; safety; spirit; whole

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49:29 - Event Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: This space really brought together some very important voices

Segment Synopsis: Kobe Natachu Taylor concludes the event by acknowledging the power of the voices brought together by the space, and expressing their appreciation for all who were able to attend.

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