TP 37 Two-Spirit Identities then and Now: Reclaiming the Historical Place of Honor in American Indian Culture As HIV Prevention and Intervention for LGBT Native Americans

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Exhibit Hall
Harlan Pruden, First Nations Cree and a Two-Spirit Leader, NorthEast Two-Spirit Society, New York, NY and Pamela Jumper-Thurman, PhD, National Center of Community and Organizational Readiness/Ethnic Studies Department, National Center of Community/Organizational Readiness at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

Background: The Northeast Two-Spirit Society (NE2SS) serves LGBT/Two-Spirit American Indians of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, with a mission to increase the visibility of the Two-spirit community, to provide health promotion and social, traditional and recreational opportunities that are culturally appropriate to the Two-spirit communities of tri-state area. Recent data on MSM Native populations indicate disproportionate risk for and prevalence of HIV which mandates that culturally appropriate and competent community engagement, mobilization and intervention is needed.

Methods: NE2SS has developed a prototype workshop targeted to both Two-Spirit at high risk for STD’s and to Native -identified organizations and healthcare providers delivering primary, behavioral and HIV-related care to native populations. The workshop “Two Spirit Then and Now: Reclaiming Our Place of Honor” engages participants in understanding the impact of colonization, historical trauma and the subsequent dissolution of the role and the displacement of Two-spirit people from within their tribes and native communities, on increased HIV risk and Two-spirit health disparities. Approaches that utilize traditional practices, including those that incorporated the special role of Two-Spirit people in traditional Native communities; the work of Dr. Joseph Gone and Dr. Alex Wilson on the integration of traditional practices, with Two-spirit identity and role affirmation, and current behavioral health interventions are presented with practice case studies, resources for further learning and links to Two-Spirit organizations around the country.

Results: The training was evaluated qualitatively with 100% of participants indicating that the workshop increased knowledge about and ability to engage and work more effectively with Two-Spirit people within their communities.

Conclusions: The results will be used to refine the prototype and to develop quantitative as well as qualitative measures for the next phase of implementation within LGBT, Native American and Two-Spirit organizations which deliver HIV-related and other health promotion services.