February 29th, 2016 Last Updated on: August 14th, 2016
AJ+ recently shot a video at the Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirit Powwow with hoop dancer Ty Defoe. In this video, Defoe speaks about how traditional dance helps two spirits take back their gender identity from the negative connotations that were established during colonization.
Defoe is not just a dancer, but an active member in many communities. In this piece, A Red Face in the Crowd: Identities of a Native American Two-Spirit Writer, Defoe explains a bit more.
Ty niin nindizhinikaaz, Giizhig nindigoo Ojibwemong. Niin Nindoodem Migizi. Niin niizhmandoowug. Miskwaagamiiwi-Zaaga’ ignaning Waswagoning Onyota'a:ka niin nindoonjibaa. New York nindaa. Migwetch niiiji-bimaadiziig.
I chose the name Ty. Sky above is my Ojibwe name. Eagle is my clan. I am two-spirit (FTM/ Trans* gender male). I am from Ojibwe Nation and Oneida Nation (People of the Standing Stone). I am two-spirit. I live in New York City. I am a writer. These ways of identifying are only parts of me, but as I move through the world, I find that I can’t take off my identities like a jacket and simply hang them in the closet. They are interwoven, and in creating any theatre that has verisimilitude or humanity, I must lean into the intersection of identities.
Thank you for sharing your many talents with the world. To read more about Ty Defoe's present projects, check out http://www.tydefoe.com/.
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