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After travelling more than 20,000 kilometers across 6 provinces, 1 territory, and 14 cities, James Makokis (Cree) and Anthony Johnson (Navajo/Diné) are the first Indigenous, Two-Spirit couple to win The Amazing Race Canada. Their appearance on the reality television competition series that features teams in a grueling race across Canada and the world served as an opportunity to confront stereotypes, homophobia, ignorance, and racism, and raise awareness of issues faced by Indigenous Peoples in Canada and the United States.


As a queer Diné woman, I find myself being welcomed into the inter-Tribal Two-Spirit community. Additionally, I find myself being called to action to help build understanding and inclusion in our own Indigenous communities, and to help educate and inform allies and partners about the ever growing movement that is Diné Pride.


As in many countries in Asia, the LGBTQIA+ community in the Philippines continues to experience rampant discrimination, most of which goes unreported. LGBTQIA+ in the Philippines are generally deprived of their political, economic, cultural, and human rights, such as denial of access to public service, refusal of admission to or expulsion from educational institutions and jobs, unequal treatment in workplaces, harassment, and violence. The denial of basic rights to employment, housing, education, and health are driving the community deeper into poverty.


As an Indigenous gay man, it has not been easy. I have had to face the rejection of family and community, and I made the decision to flee the environment of violence and discrimination that exists in Honduras. I have always said that we Indigenous gays face double or triple discrimination— first for being Indigenous, then for being gay, and finally for being of limited economic resources. With money, everyone respects you.


I identify as bisexual. In our Embera language there is no translation for bisexual, transgender, or intersex people; only male or female. In the Embera nation, trans females have recently become more visible. In our language, WERA PA (false woman) denotes the complexity of the matter. I have conversed with elders and learned there have always been lesbian women, gay men, and trans, but it has been a taboo topic and they were expelled from the community or forced to marry under the heterosexual norms to maintain inheritances or familial last names.


I’m a Khoe language and cultural activist based in ‘||Hui !Gais’, which is the original name of Cape Town, South Africa. Language is critical to how a community sees themselves and the world they inhabit. Their understanding of the world is formed by the thousands of words and what remains when those words are taken. This is the case with our Khoe people in South Africa, a people robbed of our Khoe languages with no restorative attempts made post-1994 to acknowledge our violent language loss. As Khoe people, we cannot be passive about this evil of being ignored.


We, Guna, are binational Peoples with one community in Panama and two in Colombia, one in the countryside and the city. I live in the Guna Abya Yala region. I have lived in Medellín since I was 7 years old and I am now 26. I’m finishing my last semester studying audiovisual communication, and I am an audiovisual producer and cultural manager. My company, sentARTE, works to promote ethnic and gender diversity.


Latin America is taking to the streets to claim their collective rights, tired of years of discrimination and inequality— and Chile is no exception. It is a country where Indigenous Peoples are not recognized in their constitution and whose institutional practice has always been accompanied by State violence and the failure to follow international standards of human rights. This is the time when the world of philanthropy and Indigenous organizations can talk about LGBTQIA+ issues after years of invisibility and denial.


I really wanted to come to the United Nations Permanent Forum to meet other Indigenous Peoples, especially those who are queer, as I am. When thinking about the Sámi community, we are often very silent about queer issues and it is often forgotten that we exist. We are still a bit of a taboo in our community, but the situation is getting better. There have been five Sápmi Pride events for us queer Sámi people, and it’s something we really need to keep going strong because it’s really empowering for us.


The island nation of Fiji has long been a crossroads in the South Pacific, where ancient canoe-voyaging neighbors, shipwrecked European explorers, and modern multinational corporations have impacted its shores. Under British colonization, iTaukai (Indigenous Fijians) experienced the repression of many traditional beliefs and practices, including the marginalization of their own language, while forced to make room for the Empire’s importation of indentured laborers from India.


Elvis Guerra (Binizá/Zapotec) is 25 years old and lives in Juchitán de Zaragoza, Oaxaca, Mexico. Cultural Survival’s Bia’ni Madsa’ Juárez López recently spoke with Guerra. Guerra is a fellow of the National Fund for Culture and Arts (FONCA) and a recipient of the CaSa prize for literary creation in the Zapotec language promoted by the painter Francisco Toledo, the Center for the Arts of San Agustín Etla, the National Council for Culture and Arts, the government of Oaxaca, and Editorial Calamus.  


It was indeed the best of times, and it was the worst of times. First, the good news: the pressure under the old Soviet system against local religious practices has been relaxed and the Shamanic celebration of the summer solstice was back in vogue. I felt surprisingly at home in some ways. As a zOyaha Tribal person, we also identify as the People of the Sun. The extravagant celebration of white cranes in their dances reminded me of our own ceremonial songs that originated with the crane.


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