A conversation with Beverly Little Thunder
TWO-SPIRIT LAKOTA WOMAN
44 min. Recorded on 29 June 2021.
Beverly Little Thunder uses she/her pronouns, and she is a Two-Spirit Lakota woman from the Standing Rock Band in North Dakota. Find out more about her story in this episode.
We also talk about what the term Two-Spirit encompasses, how religious indoctrination led to Two-Spirit people being ostracised, the cultural and societal roles we assign masculinity and femininity to, how tradition has evolved with community needs, that you don’t have to give birth to be a role model, and the importance of telling your own story.
Terminology: BIPOC = Black, Indigenous and People of Colour.
“The seven generations that have gone before you have worked hard to allow you to stand where you stand today. Now your job is to create the world for the next seven generations coming after you. And don’t ever forget that. Because if you remember what went before you and what’s coming after you, it’s real clear what you need to do right now.”
TRANSCRIPT [expand to read] – COMING SOON
“My name is Beverly Little Thunder. As an enrolled citizen of the Standing Rock Band of Lakota, I now make my home in Huntington Vermont’s beautiful mountains.
My livelihood was obtained thru my 42 years of nursing. I was fortunate with the skill and knowledge that assisted me all in areas of medical care. My favorite being Maternal Health and Mental health and Substance Recovery. During 1987 thru 1995 I worked in education of HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention.
Throughout my tenure as a medical worker I was given the opportunity to serve on several Non Profit boards. The Indian Center of Los Angeles, Butte County Indian Health Service, southeastern AIDS Coalition, Battered Women’s Legal Services, and most recently Earth Walk. I am founder of my own non profit, Kunsi Keya Tamakoce; a space in which ceremonial teachings and ceremony itself is provided for primarily Indigenous LBGTQIA persons who often are not able to attend their own tribes ceremony because of gender. The land we hold will hopefully be held in trust for future generations.
I am a great grandmother, an activist committed to racial and social justice, as well as to protection and healing of our mother earth, and to the uplifting of our future generations. As a Two Spirit person who is getting older I feel that we need to support and encourage the actions of those who follow us without judgement and with love. It is the model I strive to provide.”
What we discussed & useful links
- The term ‘Berdache’
- The term ‘Winkte’
- Two-Spirit People: Native American Gender Identity, Sexuality, and Spirituality book (1997)
- Beverly’s book, One Bead At A Time – get it from Inanna or Strong Nations, or listen on Audible
Organisations that work to support Indigenous Americans’ rights and well-being:
One Bead At A Time by Beverly Little Thunder
“It is always good to acknowledge that the lands many of us live on were taken by violence and force. Learn who the stewards of the land you live on really were. Use your voice to demand justice and reparations for the genocide committed in the name of greed.”
– Beverly Little Thunder