NWSL ACTS - Highlight on UICSL's Two Spirit Pow Wow

As a continuation of the NWSL’s Pride festivities, we’d like to highlight the work done by the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake (UICSL) in their commitment towards celebration and inclusiveness of the indigenous Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ community.

The Bay Area American Indians Two-Spirits (BAAITS) describe the meaning of Two Spirits as follows:

“In many of our cultures, some individuals possessed and manifested a balance of both feminine and masculine energies, making them inherently sacred people. These sacred people were given many names and specific traditions within tribal practices. To honor the connection to specific Native traditions and build an inclusive collective identity the term “Two Spirit” was adopted.”

Earlier this year, the UICSL hosted their first ever Two Spirit Pow Wow. From UICSL: “On February 22, 2020, the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake (UICSL) partnered with the Utah Pride Center to host our first Two Spirit Pow Wow, an event celebrating the indigenous Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ community. Pow wows are social gatherings that bring people from diverse tribal nations and backgrounds together to connect through singing, dancing and social interaction. In hosting this event, the UICSL joined many other pow wows across Indian Country to acknowledge the power and sacredness of Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ people in our communities. This event would not have been possible without overwhelming support from Native and non-Native volunteers, organizations, businesses, dancers, drum groups and community members.

Like other powwows, dancers from different age groups – “tiny tots” or children under age five, to youth, adults, and elders – dance in different styles. One distinct modification to our powwow was naming “head dancers” instead of “head man” and “head woman.” Head dancers serve as role models and must be very knowledgeable about traditional songs, dances, honorings, and other powwow events. The UICSL is committed to working towards making our activities and other cultural gathering inclusive for all our community members.”

You can read more about Indian Health Service resources for Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ people here.

As the NWSL Challenge Cup heads to the knockout rounds, the ACTS Fundraiser, powered by Prideraiser, has raised over $9000 in committed pledges for the UICSL. To help support events such as the UICSL Two Spirit Pow Wow, make a pledge to the ACTS NWSL Challenge Cup Fundraiser at acts.pridraiser.org.

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