PHOENIX â€“ A grassroots Native American lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and Two-Spirit nonprofit organization has won the 10th Annual Phoenix Pride Parade President’s Awardâ€”an award given to the best overall entry in the parade. This year’s parade was the largest in the history of Phoenix Pride with participants including nonprofit organizations, groups, businesses, and politicians from all over Arizona. The parade started at 3rd Street and Virginia and moved north to Steele Indian School Park.
“As a second year participant in Phoenix Pride, we are deeply honored to receive the President’s Award. I’m very proud of our members and supporters for all their time, hard work, enthusiasm and unity in planning and building our entry,” said Louva Hartwell, NativeOUT Co-Director.
Their float was a brush arbor, an open-air shade structure commonly used by many Native American tribes to protect them from the sun and heat. The float was built in the style of southern Arizona tribes, using mesquite for the wooden frame and greasewood brush for the shade overhead. The tree and brush are found throughout central and southern Arizona.
Colorful Native American-inspired Pendleton blankets were placed on the float and towing vehicle. Native Americans present these blankets to guests, family, and community members to honor achievements and express appreciation. All blankets on the vehicle and float were bestowed upon individual NativeOUT members in such a manner. “Our parade entry honored our cultures and reflected the pride we feel being a part of the Phoenix LGBT community,” Hartwell said.
NativeOUT marchers carried wooden staffs with feathers and circles attached at the top and wore traditional tribal outfits and jewelry or their NativeOUT t-shirts. On their staff circles they painted words such as family, honor, tradition, cultural preservation, empowerment, unity, acceptance, wellness, community, and so on. “We used key words that embody the mission of NativeOUT,” said Ron Jacobs, NativeOUT Co-Director. “The parade was a great opportunity to let the community know what NativeOUT is all about.”
The Two-Spirit Society of Denver, who wore their Pow-Wow regalia and danced for the parade spectators, joined NativeOUT. Pow-Wows are large social gatherings where Native Americans from various tribes dress in traditional clothing (regalia) and dance to songs sung by drum groups.
“The Two-Spirit Society of Denver was very proud to march in the Phoenix Gay Pride Parade as guests of NativeOUT. We are extremely proud of our brothers and sisters for winning the President’s Award in the parade,” said Joey Criddle, Co-Director of the Two-Spirit Society of Denver.
NativeOUT and the Two-Spirit Society of Denver are just two of the 20+ organized Native American LGBT and Two-Spirit groups across the US and Canada. Many of these organized groups formed in the mid 1980s to the early 1990s, as the Two-Spirit movement gained momentum after the first International Two-Spirit Gathering in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1988. Arizona has two Native American LGBT groups: NativeOUT serving central Arizona, and the recently formed Tribal Pride serving southern Arizona. Phoenix Native Americans, Corey Taber, Victor Bain, and Ambrose Nelson founded NativeOUT in the summer of 2004. Since that time, NativeOUT membership has grown to over 30 members.
They received support from several organizations, including the local Native Health’s Native Vision Tobacco Program, an anti-smoking program which advocates for the respect of the traditional use of tobacco in the Native American community. “With all the help and generous support received from organizations and individuals of our community, we grew stronger and became more united,” said Tal Hale, NativeOUT Events Coordinator. “Many thanks to all who believed in and supported NativeOUT.”
Click here to view PhoenixPride.org pictures of parade & festival (see NativeOUT parade pictures in their gallery).
NativeOUT would like to formally thank the following for their help with the Phoenix Pride Parade/Festival and fundraising:
- Two-Spirit Society of Denver
- NativeOUT members
- Phoenix area Native American LGBT & Two-Spirit community
- New Mexico Native American LGBT & Two-Spirit guests
- NativeOUT supporters
- Tribal Pride
- Native Health
- Native Vision Tobacco Program
- Phoenix Dine, Inc.
- Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona
- General Electric
- Portland Petro Gas Station
NativeOUT’s Vision Statement
Our vision is to build, unify, strengthen, and empower the Native American Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Two-Spirit community.
NativeOUT’s Mission Statement
Our Mission is to educate, gain acceptance, conduct outreach, promote visibility, encourage wellness, build alliances, and advocate for our Native American Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Two-Spirit community.
To contact the Two-Spirit Society of Denver visit www.denvertwospirit.com.