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Friday Nights at the de Young and the Native American Program Advisory Committee present Two Spirits: Contemporary Custodians of the Ancient Art of Gender Blending

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Cultural Encounters: Friday Nights at the de Young and the de Young Native American Program Advisory Committee proudly present Two Spirits: Contemporary Custodians of the Ancient Art of Gender Blending. ”Two-spirit” is a modern term that describes Native Americans who express both masculinity and femininity.  

Wilsey Court
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Live musical performances by Avotcja, Kanyon Sayers-Roods, and Storm Miguel Florez.

Welcome by emcee L. Frank, Tongva, Ajachmem, and Raramuri

Welcome by Kanyon Sayers-Roods, Ohlone and Chumash

Explanation of theme and Two Spirit Song by natoyiininastumiik, Blackfeet

Visual artists Dav Pate, Shoshone and Cherokee descent; Christopher Gomora, Anishinabe descent, and Kanyon Sayers-Roods, Ohlone and Chumash, will  present their beadwork, paintings, and other artforms throughout the evening.

  Families are invited to join in on making their own percussion instrument at the popular hands-on art-making table.


Koret Auditorium (limited seating)
6:50 - 7:30 p.m.
Poetry presentations by multiple artists featuring Qwo Li Driskill and The Brush Arbor Gurlz.

The Brush Arbor Gurlz, or the BAGz, perform "We'ha." The group is composed of Native American drag queens representing several tribal nations such as the Chickasaw, Cherokee, Choctaw, Navajo, Ojibwa, and Tohono O'odam Nations and even sports one non-Native. These drag queens are out and about in the San Francisco Bay Area and larger Native Two-Spirit communities. The group's name is based on the building of brush arbors by Southeastern tribes for social and religious occasions.

We'ha (1849–1896, various spellings) was a Zuni Native American from New Mexico. She was the most famous lhamana, a traditional Zuni gender role, now described as mixed-gender or Two-Spirit. Lhamana were men who lived in part as women, wearing a mixture of women's and men's clothing and doing a great deal of women's work as well as serving as mediators. She was a cultural ambassador for her people and performed the role of Kolhamana, the lhamana kachina of the Zuni.

Photo credit: Johnny Crash Photography

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Gregory Stock