Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits (BAAITS) exists to restore and recover the role of Two-Spirit people within the American Indian/First Nations community by creating a forum for the spiritual, cultural and artistic expression of Two-Spirit people. BAAITS is a volunteer-based organization that established the first and largest public Two-Spirit powwow in the world.
A powwow is a traditional Native American event that gathers all tribes, as well as inviting non-Native guests to learn more about Native cultures. Last year, the event welcomed more than 5,000 people at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, CA. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, BAAITS 10th Anniversary Powwow will be held virtually this year with a week-long celebration of events that includes daily panels and workshops, and culminates in our first-ever virtual powwow on Saturday, February 6th. This powwow features several hours of ceremonial honor dances, contest dances, and a drum contest. All are welcome to attend.
"Two-Spirit" is a Native American term for people with both female and male energies. Two-Spirits may (or may not) also identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Traditionally Two-Spirit people often heldand many still hold honored positions in their Native American and First Nations communities. "Two-Spirit" is a pan-tribal termit is rooted in the Anishinaabe term describing such individuals: "niizh manidoowag." This translates literally as "two spirits"- embodying both the feminine and the masculine in all of us. Two-Spirit is an addition, not a replacement term, for Indigenous communities that already have a term to signify gender and sexual orientation variance.
BAAITS Interim Executive Director, Amelia Vigil, welcomes attendees to the powwow saying, "This is a space for all of us to gather respectfully and celebrate our traditions. By Centering the voice of Two-Spirit leadership and vision we honor all those who made it possible for us to be here. Whoever you are and wherever your roots originate, come with kindness, curiosity and humility and you will enjoy the company of like-minded, connected people as we celebrate traditions of music, art, togetherness and the practice of collective healing through artistic and cultural expression."
Powwow Chair and Board Member, Roger Kuhn (Poarch Creek) adds, "The powwow represents a place where Two-Spirit people and their allies come together to celebrate community, friendship, and love. The BAAITS powwow is unique in that we do not gender the dance categories all dancers are welcome in any of the dances. It is the mission of BAAITS to help Two-Spirit people return to the circle of healing. Our powwow is one way in which we work to accomplish this goal. The powwow is an incredibly exhilarating experience."
At this virtual Powwow all Two-Spirits and LGBTQI people and their allies from all over the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Central America get a chance to come together to celebrate Native culture, build community, and experience the joy that is baaits 10th anniversary Powwow.
10th Annual BAAITS Powwow:
When: February 2nd-6th, 2021; All events are Virtual and times are listed in Pacific Time (PST)
Tuesday, February 2:
12 p.m. - 2 p.m. | Welcome opening
5 p.m. - 7 p.m. | Two-Spirit Futurism panel
Wednesday, February 3:
12 p.m. - 2 p.m. | early event TBD
5 p.m. - 8 p.m. | SNAG Night! - a virtual Two-Spirit mixer
with host Snowflake Calvert (Tseltal Mayan & Yoeme)
Thursday, February 4:
12 p.m. - 2 p.m. | Two-Spirit Talking Circle
5 p.m. - 7 p.m. | Film Shorts and Literary Reading Night
hosted by Amelia Vigil in partnership with QWOCMAP
Friday, February 5:
12 p.m. - 3 p.m. | Native foods Cooking Demonstration
with Annie Dittmer (Ho-Chunk) and Esteban Orozco (Wixarika)
3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. | Two-Spirit Self-Care, a conversation
with Lenny Hayes, MA (Dakota)
5 p.m. - 7 p.m. | Hand Drum contest
MAIN POWWOW EVENT
Saturday, February 6:
12 p.m. - 4 p.m. PST
(12 p.m. Grand Entry)
For start in other time zones:
1 p.m. - 5 p.m.MST
(1 p.m. Grand Entry)
2 p.m.- 6 p.m. CST
(2 p.m.- Grand Entry)
4 p.m.- 7 p.m. EST
(4 p.m. Grand Entry)
Where: Online. Please visit www.baaits.org/powwow for updated Zoom links and info.
Cost: Free. Donations are welcome at www.baaits.org/donate .
Who should attend: Everyone is welcome. This is a family-friendly, clean and sober event.