Living the Spirit: A Gay American Indian Anthology Compiled by Gay American Indians (Paperback)

Living the Spirit: A Gay American Indian Anthology Compiled by Gay American Indians By Prof. Will Roscoe (Editor) Cover Image

Living the Spirit: A Gay American Indian Anthology Compiled by Gay American Indians (Paperback)

By Prof. Will Roscoe (Editor)

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A groundbreaking collection of essays and stories by, about, and selected by gay American Indians from over twenty North American tribes.

From the preface by Randy Burns (Northern Paiute):

Gay American Indians are active members of both the American Indian and gay communities. But our voices have not been heard. To end this silence, GAI is publishing Living the Spirit: A Gay American Indian Anthology.

Living the Spirit honors the past and present life of gay American Indians. This book is not just about gay American Indians, it is by gay Indians. Over twenty different American Indian writers, men and women, represent tribes from every part of North America.

Living the Spirit tells our story---the story of our history and traditions, as well as the realities and challenges of the present.

As Paula Gunn Allen writes, “Some like Indians endure.” The themes of change and continuity are a part of every contribution in this book---in the contemporary coyote tales by Daniel-Harry Steward and Beth Brant---in the reservation experiences of Jerry, a Hupa Indian---in the painful memories of cruelty and injustice that Beth Brant, Chrystos, and others evoke. Our pain, but also our joy, our love, and our sexuality, are all here, in these pages.
M. Owlfeather writes, “If traditions have been lost, then new ones should be borrowed from other tribes,” and he uses the example of the Indian pow-wow---Indian, yet contemporary and pantribal.

One of our traditional roles was that of the “go-between”---individuals who could help different groups communicate with each other. This is the role GAI hopes to play today. We are advocates for not only gay but American Indian concerns, as well. We are turning double oppression into double continuity---the chance to build bridges between communities, to create a place for gay Indians in both of the worlds we live in, to honor our past and secure our future.


Published by Stonewall Inn Editions in partnership with St. Martin’s Press, 1988.

Will Roscoe has been active in the the gay movement since 1975, when he helped found Lambda, the first gay/lesbian organization in Montana. He worked with Harvey Milk in the "No on 6" campaign against the Briggs Initiative. He worked closely with the group Gay American Indians (GAI) on issues around the meaning of the term "berdache" and served as coordinating editor for the GAI's collection of nonfiction essays and short stories, Living the Spirit: A Gay American Indian Anthology. Roscoe's first book, The Zuni Man-Woman, won the Lambda Literary Award for gay men's nonfiction and the Margaret Mead Award. In 2003, he received a Monette-Horwitz Achievement Award for research and scholarship combating homophobia.
Product Details ISBN: 9780312302245
ISBN-10: 031230224X
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: August 15th, 1988
Pages: 256
Language: English
Series: Stonewall Inn Editions (Paperback)

"This study of Indian History is doubly liberating, providing a sense that gays were once highly valued in many tribes and supplying a view of Native American social structure as highly developed, environmentally sensitive, and one from which we could learn much. If we ignore the lessons in Living the Spirit, we do so at our own peril." - Lambda Rising Book Report

"Living the Spirit is one of the most exciting books I've held in my hands since Another Mother Tongue. It reclaims for all of us the rich and diverse gay tradition in many tribes, the important roles reserved for gay women and men, and the gay contribution to traditional life." - Feminist Bookstore News

"Living the Spirit is the first anthology in which American Indians have compiled their own history and told their own stories. Many pieces are powerful in their eroticism; others, in their simplicity and appreciation of community. In this testament to lives honestly lived, all readers will find much to deepen and inspire their own lives." - The Advocate

"This book provides a vital addition to our understanding of what it means to be gay and Native American." - San Francisco Chronicle