The New York City American Indian Community House (AICH) has served the largest population of urban Indians in the New York area for almost 50 years. In celebration of New York City’s Pride month, the AICH will be hosting the only Native American/First Nations/indigenous Two-Spirit pride event on Saturday, June 24th.
“It’s really a celebration of these amazing Two-Spirit artists who are coming together to create a safe and bully-free space for our Two-Spirit community to show their pride,” says the event’s headliner, PrEPahHontoz.
PrEPahHontoz (Lakota Winkt’e) is a musical artist who blends Native American traditional sign language with pop music in order to promote HIV/AIDS prevention awareness. She will be performing her debut single “Take The Pill,” in reference to PrEP, the once-a-day pill that helps prevent HIV infection. The single will be released on iTunes on June 24th.
Also performing will be Two-Spirit Xicana artist, activist, and a member of the performance art group Art Nunz, Alicia Smith. “In 2014 I married myself to my art. Making art is offering your hands and body to the practice,” explains Smith.
Two-Spirit stand up comedian and writer T Leclaire (Mohawk.) “Most Two-Spirit and LGBTQ Native Americans come from communities where it isn't always safe to be themselves,” Leclaire told ICMN.
“Having events like this one are critical in letting the community know that they're not alone—they are supported and welcome.”
Champion hoop dancer and Grammy Award-winning multidisciplinary artist Ty Defoe (Ojibwe/Oneida) will also be performing at the AICH Two-Spirit Pride event on June 24th.
“It is a time when we can operate in a world of full understanding, and not have to explain who we are to one another, because we can inherently just exist,” said Defoe.
“This provides ourselves with healing and gives us a recharge to function with the current colonial society, where for so long we have been made to feel like we are outside the circle, when in fact, we are included in the circle."
Founded in 1969, the American Indian Community House mission is to improve and promote the well-being of the American Indian community and to increase the visibility of American Indian cultures in an urban setting in order to cultivate awareness, understanding and respect.