Tribal community members turned out to show support and solidarity at the Tribe’s annual Pride Event on Sunday. This year’s event – in-person after last year’s virtual celebrations – included cotton candy, tie-dye masks, a bounce house, face painting, the selection of Pride royalty and more. Many Tribal departments and Tacoma’s Rainbow Center were there to offer resources for visitors.
The Tribe’s volunteer Pride Working Group put on the event with the support of Tribal Council. Filthy FemCorps put on a live music performance with hits such as “Like a Prayer” and led the Pride Walk, which was lined with Pride flags and a description of what each color of the rainbow means.
In 2019, Tribal Council declared July as Pride Month for2SLGBTQIA+ Community, becoming one of the first Tribes in the United States to do so. Teaching love and acceptance for all for a key aim. The acronym breakdown is two-spirited, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual.
According to Connie McCloud, culture director, the term two-spirit is a relatively new word, which is meant to represent the Native peoples who possessed both male and female spirits. “They were highly talented and many times the medicine people, who were very well accepted,” she said.
She opened the event with a prayer, followed by the Language Department offering music. Tribal Councilmembers spoke to the visitors.
“All peoples have a right to be a people, to make their own choices. To live their own lives. Especially deep personal choices,” Chairman Bill Sterud said. “I am proud to do what I can do to make sure this course, this canoe is headed in this direction.”
“We like to show that no matter who you are or what you do, that you fit in this world,” Vice Chairwoman Sylvia Miller said. “It’s a good thing that each and every one of you support this event.”
Councilmembers Monica Miller and Fred Dillon also spoke.
“Speak your mind. Stand your fight,” Miller said. “The biggest thing in life is about love.”
“It’s about all of us coming together and accepting,” Dillon said. “Let’s enjoy this moment.”
Councilmember Annette Bryan was given the honor of reading the historic resolution aloud, word for word. “We are so supportive,” she said of Council before welcoming and thanking everyone who helped bring the event about.
Resources: The Rainbow Center helps people who may be struggling or in need of someone to talk to or for more information along with additional resources about the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, please visit www.rainbowcntr.org