(Image source from: Bemidji Pioneer)
About 50 people showed up to Bemidji State University's American Indian Resource Center on Wednesday at the fifth-annual Two Spirit Awareness Day and the resource center's second.
About a dozen people before that waving rainbow flags marched from the Chief Shaynowishkung statue to the resource center lead by Arnold Dahl-Wooley, a Two-Spirit man and Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe member. He marched in traditional American Indian regalia and carried a large rainbow flag as the occasional passing motorist honked or cheered in support.
The term "Two-Spirit" generally encompasses LGBTQ American Indians, but, traditionally, it has a broader cultural and spiritual connotation that faded and turned negative as North America was colonized, Dahl-Wooley said. The march, then, was something of a reclamation.
"We're trying to come full circle on a lot of things, and this is one big part of it," he said as he marched along Lake Boulevard, bells jingling with each step. As the marchers approached campus, Dahl-Wooley gave the flag to a small girl to carry for the remainder. "We're kind of returning back to our roots, culturally, to show that this is something that's very special, something that's very honorable."
At the resource center, organizations such as the Rural AIDS Action Network had set up booths advertising their services.
By Sowmya Sangam