Books Written by or about Two-Spirit or Indigiqueer Peoples

As pride month comes to a close, we want to stress the importance of continuing to support the 2SLGBTTQIA+ community throughout the year.

Two-Spirit people have traditionally been recognized in Indigenous communities as having the spirit of a man and a woman, resulting in marriages between men or marriages between women. They were often considered a third gender and were mainly the visioners, healers, and medicine people of their society. Today, the term Two-Spirit refers to Indigenous peoples who are gay, bisexual, transgender, bi-gender, and more.

The term “Two-Spirit” comes from the Anishinaabemowin term “niizh manidoowag” (two spirits). Although the term was only coined in 1990, Two-Spirit peoples lived and held places of distinction in their communities long before then. The term “Indigiqueer” has also recently become more popular, and encompasses Queer Indigenous peoples who do not necessarily identify with “Two-Spirit”.

For more detailed information on Two-Spirit peoples, please see the bibliography at the end of the blog.

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Here are a few Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer book suggestions. Be sure to let us know over on social media if we missed any!

Kids

47,000 Beads by Koja and Angel Adeyoha and illustrated by Holly McGillis

Families by Kerry McCluskey and Jesse Unaapik Mike and illustrated by Lenny Lischenko

Ho’onani: Hula Warrior by Heather Gale and illustrated by Mika Song

The Eagle’s Path by Michelle Corneau and illustrated by Audrey Keating

Young Adult

After the Snow Melts by Maggie Blackbird

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Bear

Fire Song by Adam Garnet Jones

Gives Light by Rose Christo

Kynship by Daniel Heath Justice

Love After the End edited by Joshua Whitehead

Love Beyond Body, Space & Time edited by Hope Nicholson

Moonshot Vol. 2 edited by Tama Wise

Pukawiss The Outcast by Jay Jordan Hawke

Street Dreams by Tama Wise

Surviving the City, Vol. 1 + 2 by Tasha Spillet-Summer

Adult fiction

All My Relations: An Anthology of Contemporary Canadian Native Fiction edited by Thomas King

Along The Journey River by Carole laFavor

Blessed by Maggie Blackbird

Drowning in Fire by Craig S. Womack

Evil Dead Center: A Mystery by Carole laFavor

Food and Spirits: Stories by Beth Brant

Guns Of Penance by Mari Kurisato

Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead

Maiden, Mother, Crone: Fantastical Trans Femmes edited by Gwen Benaway

Ravensong by Lee Maracle

Red Weather by Janet McAdams

Rough Paradise by Alec Butler

The Bone People by Keri Hulme

The Cherokee Rose by Tiya Miles

The Gilda Stories by Jewelle L. Gómez

The Uncle's Story by Witi Ihimaera

The Woman Who Owned the Shadows by Paula Gunn Allen

Tied Up with a Bow by Maggie Blackbird

Two Princes by Maggie Blackbird

Non-fiction/memoirs

A Gathering of Spirit: A Collection by North American Indian Women edited by Beth Brant

A Generous Spirit: Selected Works by Beth Brant edited by Janice Gould

A History of My Brief Body by Billy-Ray Belcourt

A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of A Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder by Ma-Nee Chacaby

Abandon Me: Memoirs by Melissa Febos

An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Art as Performance, Story as Criticism: Reflections on Native Literary Aesthetics by Craig Womack

As We Have Always Done by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Asegi Stories: Cherokee Queer and Two-Spirit Memory by Qwo-Li Driskill

Bad Indians by Deborah A. Miranda

Becoming Two-spirit: Gay Identity and Social Acceptance in Indian Country by Brian Joseph Gilley

Black Dove: Mamá, Mi'jo, and Me by Ana Castillo

Captive Genders edited by Eric A. Stanley and Nat Smith

Changing Ones by Will Roscoe

Colouring The Rainbow: Blak Queer and Trans Perspectives - Life Stories and Essays By First Nations People of Australia edited by Dino Hodge

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, And Transgender Myths From The Arapaho To The Zuñi: An Anthology edited by Jim Elledge

I'll Sing 'Til the Day I Die by Beth Brant

Indian Blood by Andrew Jolivette

Indigenous Men and Masculinities edited by Robert Alexander Innes and Kim Anderson

Kiss of the Fur Queen by Tomson Highway

Lesbian Triptych by Jovette Marchessault

Living the Spirit: A Gay American Indian Anthology edited by Will Roscoe

Making Love with the Land by Joshua Whitehead

Nîtisânak by Jas M. Morgan

One Bead at A Time: A Memoir by Beverly Little Thunder

Piece of My Heart: A Lesbian of Colour Anthology edited by Makeda Silvera

Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology by Amy Sonnie et al

Samoan Queer Lives by Dan Taulapapa McMullin and Yuki Kihara

Sexuality, Nationality, Indigeneity by Daniel Heath Justice et al

Sovereign Erotics by Qwo-Li Driskill et al

Spaces Between Us: Queer Settler Colonialism and Indigenous Decolonization by Scott Lauria Morgensen

Straight Walk: A Supermodel's Journey to Finding Her Truth by Patricia Velásquez

The Power of Style: How Fashion and Beauty Are Being Used to Reclaim Cultures by Christian Allaire

The Queerness of Native American Literature by Lisa Tatonetti

Thunder Through My Veins: Memories of A Métis Childhood by Gregory Scofield

Two Spirit People: American Indian, Lesbian Women and Gay Men by Lester B. Brown

Two-Spirit People: Native American Gender Identity, Sexuality, and Spirituality edited by Sue-Ellen Jacobs et al

Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics, and Literature by Qwo-Li Driskill

Urban Indigenous Youth Reframing Two-Spirit by Marie Laing

Why Indigenous Literatures Matter by Daniel Heath Justice

Writing as Witness by Beth Brant

Yelesalehe hiwayona dikanohogida naiwodusv/ God taught me this song, it is beautiful by Qwo-Li Driskill

Poetry/Plays

Book of Memory: Honor Poems by Qwo-Li Driskill

Burning Upward Flight by Qwo-Li Driskill

Disintegrate/Dissociate by Arielle Twist

Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers by Jake Skeets

Fireweed by Tunchai Redvers

Full-metal Indigiqueer by Joshua Whitehead

Holy Wild by Gwen Benaway

IRL by Tommy Pico

Kipocihkân: Poems New & Selected by Gregory Scofield

Love Medicine and One Song by Gregory Scofield

Metzali: Siwayul Shitajkwilu: Indigenous: Heart of a Womxn Writing by Xemiyulu Manibusan Tapepechul

Mohawk Trail by Beth Brant

My Woman Card Is Anti-Native, & Other Two-Spirit Truths by Xemiyulu Manibusan Tapepechul

Nature Poem by Tommy Pico

NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field by Billy-Ray Belcourt

Not Vanishing by Chrystos

Passage by Gwen Benaway

Raised by Humans by Deborah A. Miranda

She Walks for Days Inside a Thousand Eyes: A Two-Spirit Story by Sharron Proulx-Turner

The Borders of Empire: Seven Poems and a Play by Qwo-Li Driskill

The Internet Is Anti-Native, & Other Two-Spirit Truths by Xemiyulu Manibusan Tapepechul

The Rez Sisters by Tomson Highway

The Trees Are Still Bending South by Sharron Proulx-Turner

This Wound Is a World by Billy-Ray Belcourt

Two-Spirit Acts by Jean Elizabeth O’Hara

Walking with Ghosts: Poems by Qwo-Li Driskill

 

Bibliography - Two-Spirit Peoples

Elliot, Michelle and Laura Chopiuk. “Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Children’s and YA Book

Lists”. Indigenous Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta.

https://indigenouslis.ca/two-spirit-and-indigiqueer-childrens-and-ya-book-lists/.

Filice, Michelle. “Two-Spirit”. The Canadian Encyclopedia, 03 July 2020, Historica Canada.

www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/two-spirit.

“Two-Spirit | Health Resources”. Indian Health Service.

https://www.ihs.gov/lgbt/health/twospirit/.

“Two-Spirit People of the First Nations”. Rainbow Resource Centre, 2014.

https://rainbowresourcecentre.org/files/16-08-Two-Spirit.pdf.

Bibliography - Two-Spirit Books

“5 Books Written by Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer Authors”. Native Max Magazine.

https://nativemaxmagazine.com/5-books-written-by-two-spirit-indigiqueer-authors/

“Books by and about Two Spirit or LGBTQIA2S Native Americans”. San Francisco Public

Library. https://sfpl.bibliocommons.com/list/share/1097527647/1117688187

Elliot, Michelle and Laura Chopiuk. “Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Children’s and YA Book

Lists”. Indigenous Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta.

https://indigenouslis.ca/two-spirit-and-indigiqueer-childrens-and-ya-book-lists/.

“EPL Picks: Two-Spirited Authors”. Edmonton Public Library.

https://epl.bibliocommons.com/list/share/69130658/894373258

“Two-Spirit / Indigenous LGBTQ Books”. Listopia, Goodreads.

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/102007.Two_Spirit_Indigenous_LGBTQ_Books.