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Photos: Two-spirit people throughout history

Photos: Two-spirit people throughout history

Two-spirit is an umbrella idea referencing indigenous peoples of the Americas who also identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, asexual, intersex, or genderqueer, among others. Especially before European colonization of the United States, two-spirit individuals played prominent roles in various tribes. They would have rites of passages for two-spirit individuals to recognize their spirit, often similar to rites of passages for adolescents. Different tribes have different roles for these individuals, such as appointing them as the tribe’s healer or those who pray to the creator. But due to colonization of indigenous nations, knowledge of two-spirit identities and traditional rituals have decreased. Below are some images that have documented two-spirit individuals. We Wha (1849-1896), a Zuni “berdache” (two-spirit) of New Mexico, is seen in this picture circa 1871-1896. Photo by John K. Hillers courtesy of Wikimedia. We Wha (1849-1896), a Zuni “berdache” (two-spirit) of New Mexico, is seen weaving in this photo circa 1871-1896. Photo by John K. Hillers courtesy of Wikimedia. Portrait of Crow two-spirit partners, photographer unknown. Drawn while...

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Stories and histories of indigenous two-spirit identities

Stories and histories of indigenous two-spirit identities

By Imana Gunawan Growing up — first on the Rocky Boy Reservation in Box Elder, Mont., and then in Spokane, Wash. — 28-year-old Zachary Pullin always felt he was different. The dissimilarities were obvious to Pullin: “Who I was and who I maybe had a crush on or feelings for was also different, and in stark contrasts to what everybody else was feeling, and already feeling and knowing at a really early age that different was not gonna be good for me” Pullin is a member of the Chippewa Cree tribe. He also identifies as queer. In the last few years, Pullin has begun to explore an identity with ancient roots that binds these two parts of himself together: the concept of being a “two-spirit” person. “Two-spirit is something even more spiritual and exciting that has something more to do with a connection up here and the physical,” he said, referencing a spiritual being. “The two-spirit name is kind of from that relationship.” Raven Heavy Runner, member of the...

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Special Project: Finding greens in a food desert

Special Project: Finding greens in a food desert

Seattle is filled with a variety of supermarkets, but for some residents access to fresh food isn’t easy. Carrie Ferrence, co-founder of Stockbox Grocers, hopes to change that. Stockbox opened last year in the First Hill neighborhood, in the heart of one of Seattle’s food...

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Special Project: Japanese Brazilian school counselor

Special Project: Japanese Brazilian school counselor

Steven Ono immigrated to the United States at age 11. Music helped him through the struggles of learning English and figuring out the school system. Twenty years later he is in his first year as a school counselor at a Bellevue middle school. He hopes to become the kind of counselor he needed as a...

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Urban Death Project: turning human bodies into compost

Urban Death Project: turning human bodies into compost

Everybody will one day die. But the way people say goodbye to the recently deceased body varies to the country and culture. In the U.S. there are two main options: traditional burial and cremation. A Seattle architect hopes to change that. Katrina Spade is the founder of the Urban Death Project in Seattle. Listen to her talk about the process and space for the project: The Urban Death project can be a new alternative for city burial using the environment. Spade wants to include personal rituals as part of the process. Spade wants the architecture to be simple and blend with the city. Carrying the dead up the ramps to the top of the core will be one of the steps for the burial. Spade hopes this project can expand to other cities and countries. Spade’s grandmother passed away this past May. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered in the ocean. That reinforced Spade’s ideas for the project. Katrina Spade is the founder of the Urban Death...

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Special Project: An exploration of death and dirt

Special Project: An exploration of death and dirt

Grace Seidel, 55, recently decided to have her remains composted once she dies. Seidel has a passion for death and dirt which reinforces the idea of her body going back to the earth. “It’s easier for me to just know that when my life s over, it will be over,” says Seidel. “So I can make the best of what I have now, be the kindest person I can be, and hope people feel good when they think about me.” Seattle resident, Grace Seidel, loves gardening and dirt. She recently decided she wants to participate in the Urban Death Project, which turns human remains into compost. October 21, 2014. Photo by Constanza Gallardo. Seidel takes care of her garden throughout the year. She says she’s lucky because she has the time to put into it. If her body is used as compost after she dies, her remains would go back to the earth. “My body could go into feeding a tree or feeding a plant or garden,” she says. “It’s just...

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Jemil’s Big Easy: Photo Gallery

Jemil’s Big Easy: Photo Gallery

Jemil’s Big Easy by Slidely Photo Gallery A typical weekday at Jemil’s Big Easy food truck around...

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First Hill community supports Stockbox Grocers

First Hill community supports Stockbox Grocers

Janet Davidson shares why she enjoys shopping at Stockbox...

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Characters

In their own words

“Sometimes I say I’m from Seattle, sometimes I say California, but I was actually born in São Paulo, Brazil. I moved to the United States in 1993 when I was 11 years old.”

“I’m not afraid of death. And for me if my body can decompose naturally and go back into the earth, I would be honored for that to happen.”

“I think that a lot of people take for granted that having access to healthy and fresh foods is a cornerstone of any community. Most urban communities are lacking that resource.”

 

“I am a Native American, and I’m also a queer person, and that’s important, just saying that and being that.”

“I am always on the truck. I am pretty much, besides [my dad’s] face, I am the face that will be sticking out of the window on the [food] truck.”

“I just know that this is my place. I know that it’ll be here for the rest of my days… as a teacher.”

“We shouldn’t be taking something out of a box, sticking it in the microwave and heating it up to eat. We should be walking in our backyard, pulling a weed out and making family dinner out of it.”

  • Steven Ono, school counselor
  • Grace Seidel, Seattle resident
  • Carrie Ferrence, co-founder of Stockbox Grocers
  • Zachary Pullin, Chippewa Cree tribe of Rocky Boy Reservation in Montana
  • Candace Lachelle Johnson, Jemil’s Big Easy food truck employee
  • Natasha Gobin, Native language teacher
  • Jeremy Faber, mushroom hunter

Journalists

Meet the students

Nancy DeVille

Nancy DeVille

Journalist

  • Multimedia %
Constanza Gallardo

Constanza Gallardo

Journalist

  • Multimedia %
Imana Gunawan

Imana Gunawan

Journalist

  • Multimedia %
Ann Kane

Ann Kane

Journalist

  • Multimedia %
Reynaldo Leanos Jr.

Reynaldo Leanos Jr.

Journalist

  • Multimedia %
Alyssa Mendez-Batista
  • Multimedia %
Gabriela Saldivia

Gabriela Saldivia

Journalist

  • Multimedia %