About Spirit Root Medicine People
Before colonization, being Two Spirit/QTBIPOC was a sacred and essential role in many Indigenous communities. Systems of colonization committed genocide on Two Spirit communities. Two Spirit roles that were depended-upon in daily Indigenous community life were destroyed, and remnants that remained were/are criminalized and ostracized. Two Spirits held the sacred roles of being the stewards of ceremonial, genealogical and healing knowledges. In Indigenous culture, these knowledges are the foundations of a balanced healthy life for all beings. When these roles were eradicated, Two Spirit people went into hiding and survival mode. This continues today and it looks like isolation, severe mental illness, addiction, denial, transphobia/homophobia, suicide, but, also, experienced through a deep longing to reclaim the sacred role of being part of the sacred ceremonies, reconnecting with genealogical ties and healing from the genocide brought on by colonization. Our circles serve to meet this longing, reclamation & healing.
SRMP is a group that continued from Oyate Tupu’anga Project (OT), a Two Spirit, Pacific Islander, and other Indigenous LGBTQI support group. OT was a recipient of Alameda County Behavioral Health’s Innovations Grants Round Three, 1-year funding and it was created by current SRMP co-facilitator Loa Niumeitolu and co-facilitated by Ruth Villesenor, then Chair of Bay Area American Indian Two Spirits (BAAITS) and founding member of the first Two Spirit Powwow on Turtle Island, and Niumeitolu. The grant ended in 2016, but the County contacted Niumeitolu in 2019 to offer workshops OT offered Two Spirit/LGBTQ circles similar to SRMP’s healing circles, but with new co-facilitators: Artist and Two Spirit Lifeways Steward, RaheNi Gonzalez, and Two Spirit Sacred Drum Keeper, Zamora Zamora, these circles have taken on a new fervor and are now deeply rooted into Two Spirit community in Huichin and beyond!