Pine Ridge youth interns establish Pride Month for LGBTQ, two-spirit community

PINE RIDGE, S.D. — The Oglala Sioux Tribe elections last November delivered the tribe’s first LGBTQ Vice President, Alicia Mousseau. She’s also the first “out” person on the Tribe’s Executive Council.

Mousseau grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation, in Porcupine.

And she says she remembers the days before members of the LGBTQ, two-spirit community, and same-sex marriages were accepted.

“Our tribe made that official in our law and order code, I believe it was in 2019. So, we’ve had some advocates in our community who are really pushing to get equality, equal rights for LGBTQ, two-spirit community in our legislation, in our law and order code. So they have made those changes. Including a hate crime bill,” Mousseau said.

Mousseau says that visibility is key, and that she wants youth and members of the community to see LGBTQ and two-spirit individuals contributing and living as who they are.

This has greatly impacted a number of youth, who now work as interns for Mousseau.

“So, I myself struggle with mental health, just because we’re in a pandemic, and it definitely affected us all mentally, and spiritually and physically. So I feel like if we got the support from just the community or even family, because I know that some people are homophobic. They aren’t very supportive of their kids or their children, because our reservation is definitely colonized,” said Breana Brings Plenty, youth intern.

The youth interns proposed a resolution that would make June LGBTQ/two-spirit pride month to recognize and represent the community.

The resolution was passed unanimously by the Tribal Council – what many in the community consider another step forward to inclusion and acceptance.

“There are people on the Reservation who don’t have voices or who are too afraid to speak up because they’re bullied or they just don’t get that support from home or from their family or community. So I want the youth and I want people back home to know that they have a voice and that they can use it,” Brings Plenty said.

To celebrate the month, the interns scheduled several events including a color run, healing camp, and discussions with the community.

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