International Women’s Day San Francisco American Indian Two Spirits

April 12, 2023

Hello to all friends and relatives following our work through our partners at the Lakota People’s Law Project! On International Women’s Day, we write to you about an incredible cross-country journey we took at the beginning of February. Our destination — and what a destination it was — was San Francisco, where we attended the Bay Area American Indian Two Spirits (BAAITS) powwow.

We encountered some challenging weather on our drive — including slippery, snowy mountain passes — but Muffie was a warrior behind the wheel. Nothing was going to stop us from taking part in this incredible coming together of our LGBTQ+ and two-spirit community. After we arrived on Thursday, we attended a beautiful, spiritual water ceremony led by Muffie and Beverly Little Thunder to honor four two-spirit relatives we lost this year. We’d brought water from our homelands, collected by cutting through ice on the Missouri River. We combined it with water brought from many places to pay tribute to the memories of John, Marlon, Sade, and Mike.

Later we participated in a powerful women’s talking circle led by Theda New Breast (Blackfeet), a respected auntie who shined in one of the funniest scenes from “Reservation Dogs.” The circle — a safe space to talk through the trauma we all face as two-spirits and find peace and acceptance together — was difficult but healing. Then, on Saturday, it was time for the main event! We danced in the Grand Entry, Muffie with the Oglala flag and I with our hunka (adopted) granddaughter, River, who had flown in from New York City. It was a blessing to reconnect face to face!

While in the city, we also took time to explore, walking across the Golden Gate Bridge and taking our first trip to the Castro, San Francisco’s famous LGBTQ+ district. We also met with the director of LGBT Asylum Project, a nonprofit that provides legal representation for LGBT asylum seekers fleeing persecution. All in all, it was a truly incredible journey, and neither of us has ever felt so free and surrounded by love and acceptance.

Energized, we’ll continue on our mission to spread that same feeling far and wide. We’re preparing for upcoming trips to powwows in Denver and Albuquerque. We’ve opened a conversation to encourage Denver’s organizers to include two-spirit participation in next year’s Grand Entry, and we can’t wait to dance again at Albuquerque’s Gathering of Nations on April 27. Please follow all our work and adventures at our !

Wopila tanka — thank you for your friendship and support!

Muffie Mousseau and Felipa De Leon Mousseau

Via the Lakota People’s Law Project

Lakota People’s Law Project

547 South 7th Street #149

Bismarck, ND 58504-5859

The Lakota People’s Law Project is part of the Romero Institute, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) law and policy center. All donations are tax-deductible.