Saturday, October 18, 2008

Two-Sprit Funding

I have not been reading a lot of what is sent to me since the passing of my brother. Mostly its been a way for me to begin to heal, to absorb his loss, but it also has been hard for me to focus. Not a good thing for a gemini! I mention this not with puppy eyes looking for support but as a way to explain the 1800+ emails that have accumulated in my mail box. Usually I just go to the inbox looking for emails from work or clients, then I quickly look for those that came from friends. The rest - into the file marked 'luego' or 'later'.

So today I came across a forward from back in May. After reading it, I wasn't surprised.

Two recent national philanthropy reports have released information indicating that Gay Funders contributed $37 million in one year to GLBT organizations across the United States. Native American Two Spirit People, the poorest of all the GLBT communities, received only 4 small grants of about $2,500. The average grant to gay organizations nationally is $16,000 a year. Gay funders have a mission to serve all equally, but it's time for a summit with the Two Spirit People here in our ancestral domains to help the funders achieve their mission. Two Spirit People have significant spiritual and ceremonial roles in our Native cultures, and Gay Philanthropy has a significant role to play in realizing a vision of funding-justice and social justice with our people.

People of colour learn very quickly where their place is in the dominate culture, especially if you're not economically blessed. Hand me downs, commodity foods, under performing schools .... are not far removed from our lives. So considering that in 2006, 37 million dollars was donated nationally to GLBT funders and for each dollar donated, 0.0003 went to Native American LBGT projects, I'd say that the big dogs learned very well how to apply the lessons of old, pass out beads and take New York.

I could easily recite how serious HIV/AIDS is among Native People. How often our LGBT youth are at risk for violence, not only in the streets but at home as well. The compound effects of discrimination, as a Person of Colour and GLBT. The appropriation of Our Culture to fill a romantic notion in the minds of those who know not their place of emergence. In my youth, these outrages would bring anger to my heart and I would be one of those to go to the streets to let them know I was angry.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

I've learned some of the wisdom of the Tortoise and the Hare. Sometimes its worth the effort to slowly but diligently attack a problem. Since the days of my youth I see a little more progress towards wider acceptance of people of colour, especially from the young people. I see thru the eyes of my daughter that a time is approaching when she and I will be judged more on who we are than by the coulor of our skin.

So I ask for your help in supporting a request to more equitably fund Native American Two Spirit LGBT programs and projects.

A petition is posted here.


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