Our third feature for Native American Heritage Month is the Rosebud Sioux, queer activist, writer, and speaker Coya White-Hat Artichoker.
Born and raised on the Rosebud reservation in South Dakota, activism came naturally for Coya, as she has been involved since the age of 15. A lifelong feminist, Coya delves into unlearning sexuality and bridging the gap between LGBTQI rights and indigenous rights; sovereignty, homelessness in the LGBT community as well as advocating for reproductive justice and disability rights. Some of her talks have included access to clean water and the reproductive injustice that has stemmed from the Dakota Access Pipeline, to the disproportionate rate of abuse that Native women endure, to solidarity for black and brown trans women.
She is the founder of the First Nations Two Spirit Collective, comprised of indigenous peoples who identify as two-spirit, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, gender-non-conforming, queer and allies that came together out of a shared commitment to social justice work with an intersectional approach that honors our full selves through education, bearing witness to each others’ lives, and personal and spiritual sustainability in the larger social justice and LGBTQ movement. Coya serves on the board of directors for SisterSong, a reproductive justice organization based in Atlanta, Ga.