November 22, 2023
This Native American Heritage Month, we celebrate the advocacy of leaders who are building visibility and justice for Native and LGBTQ2+ communities.
Elva Guerra (they/she)
Elva Guerra is a Two-Spirit actor who stars in the hit Hulu show “Reservation Dogs.” At 19 years old, Elva already has held multiple prominent roles in film and TV. These roles have allowed them to represent the Two-Spirit community on a large scale. They hope that their presence in an industry with so much homophobia and transphobia will shine a light on those struggles and, in turn, help queer Indigenous kids who are struggling with their identities.
Oren Lyons (he/him)
Oren Lyons was born and raised on the Onondaga and Seneca tribal reservations in upstate New York. After serving in the U.S. Army and attending Syracuse University, Oren moved to New York City to pursue a career in commercial art. In the 1960s, Oren joined the “Red Powers movement,” a group of Native American activists fighting for Indigenous rights. His activist work led him to the United Nations, where he helped establish the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Peoples in 1982. In addition to his international work, Oren served as a professor at SUNY-Buffalo, published many notable books such as “Exiled in the Land of the Free,” and continues to fight for Indigenous rights around the globe.
Sean Snyder (they/them)
Sean Snyder is an Indigenous, Two-Spirit dancer and activist. Sean dances at many powwows on Turtle Island with their partner, Adrian Stevens. They have been competing for years at traditional dance competitions with their partner and have built a large following on social media. Sean believes competing is a way to uplift other Two-Spirit people.
Bobby Sanchez (she/they)
Bobby Sanchez is an Indigenous Two-Spirit singer, performer, and slam poet. Their song, “Quechua 101 Land Back Please” quickly turned into a TikTok sensation as an anthem of Indigenous solidarity. Her work focuses on intersections of decolonization, Indigeneity, and queerness. Bobby makes music, sells paintings, runs writer’s workshops, and advocates for many causes relating to Indigeneity and decolonization.
Kairyn Potts (he/him)
Kairyn Potts is a Two-Spirit activist, comedian, and actor from Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation. Kairyn co-hosts the Snapchat series “Reclaimed” with Marika Sila. The series explores Indigenous culture and social issues from a Gen Z point of view. Outside of the podcast, Kairyn raises awareness about Two-Spirit identity and mental health through a variety of his social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram.
Barbara May Cameron (she/her)
Barbara May Cameron was an author and activist for Native American and LGBTQ+ rights. She was raised on Standing Rock Reservation by her grandparents before she studied photography and film at the American Indian Art Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Barbara began to make a name for herself in LGBTQ+ activist spaces after her move to San Francisco in 1973 before she co-founded Gay American Indians, the first Native American LGBTQIA+ group.
Barbara went on to hold many prominent roles, such as Executive Director at Community United Against Violence, and appointed member of the Citizens Committee on Human Development and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Outside of her organizing work, Barbara published many writings and speeches about queer Indigeneity and how that looks in our society.
Madonna Thunder Hawk (she/her)
Madonna Thunder Hawk is an Indigenous activist. She is a principal in the Warrior Women Project, a collective for the development of scholarship and activism around Indigenous women’s stories. Madonna has been involved in activism for over five decades and has been a prominent force in many organizations. Madonna’s involvement in activism ranges from co-founding Women of All Red Nations to being a delegate to the United Nations.