Navigating campus as an LGBTQ+ student can be difficult in today’s day and age. In response, the Pride Resource Center at Colorado State University has started “Queer Connections,” a weekly discussion every Wednesday this month about LGBTQ+ identity at CSU.
The Native American Cultural Center and the Pride Center have collaborated to host a conversation this Wednesday on “The Colonization of Gender and Sexuality.” This session of “Queer Connections” will discuss Native American views on gender and sexuality.
“The topic that we are focused on is how colonization has impacted gender and sexuality and the way in which we talk about it in the U.S. today,” said Tiffani Kelly, assistant director of the NACC.
Views on gender and sexuality in Native American tribes were not as cut and dry as the gender binary we see today, Kelly said. The colonization process in North America stripped Native Americans of their views in favor of more traditional Christian views.
“The Colonization of Gender and Sexuality” will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 23 in LSC room 308 from 4-5:30 p.m.
“We’re basically just going to be giving a little bit of history and background of what is colonization,” Kelly said. “(We will talk about) how the impact of settler colonialism and colonization, western expansion and the use of Christianity as a tool of genocide has influenced not just Indigenous communities, but our larger society today in the way that we think of gender and sexuality.”
The discussion can be seen as a healing session for Native American students. Many have been assimilated into a culture that they feel isn’t theirs, and learning about other views on gender and sexuality from their Indigenous traditions is a way to reclaim their identity.
“I think it’s empowering for young Native folks, but also older Native folks, to think about ‘How have I been colonized regarding gender and sexuality, and how does that impact how I think about my sexuality?’” Kelly said. “And that’s changing for a lot of folks, and it’s fluid, and I think that’s the great thing about it.”
Leo Friedman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @leofriedman13.