Photo by Maddy Baker / Unsplash

๐ŸŒฑ Reawakening to Indigenous Queer Wisdom

Part I: Indigenous Queer History & Resilience

Sam Chavez
Sam Chavez

Table of Contents

Welcome Back! ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿผ

It's Pride Month, which means it's time to queer our lives! This month, we are discussing how we can reclaim Indigenous queer knowledge to fight against hatred and build our inner selves as we do this work to create real, lasting social change. Read on for more...

In Case You Missed It: Heroes & Humanity | Marvel's Mirror to Social Progress

What You Can Expect
๐Ÿœ๏ธ Rediscovering Indigenous Queerness
๐ŸŒฑ News with a Social Change Lens
๐Ÿ” Googleโ€™s Search AI Upheaval
๐Ÿค  Y'all means all! Inclusive language
๐Ÿ’ก The revolution is shadowbanned

This Sunday I was thrilled to open my email to find our podcast was featured in The Bloom, a social impact career support newsletter. I highly recommend subscribing, itโ€™s my favorite Sunday resource!

Happy Pride! ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ It's my favorite month of the year to write for because Pride Month is an opportunity for everyone to queer themselves a little bit more. While Pride is absolutely a protest, it's also a celebration of being visible and being allowed to express your joy no matter what that means to you (in a strictly non-violent way).

While queer people continue to fight, especially trans women of color, for the right to exist, it's important for us to also deepen our queerness so that we can remain resilient in the face of hatred and bigotry. After all, the best armor during this uncertain time is having a solid community of people who love you and see you fully and for you to love and see yourself fully. Everyone deserves that.

Gender and Sex Are Not the Same Thing!

Last year's June series covering gender and sex was meant to give us language and information to speak out in support for our trans and nonbinary siblings and to do our own individual gender discovery. It was the summer of Bud Light slightly supporting one trans woman leading MAGA supporters and Nikki Haley (who now is one) freaking out over it.

"The complexities that patriarchy has placed on gender have made it challenging for many cisgender (pronounced sis-gender) people to grasp the spectrum of gender because the changing notion of gender threatens the systems that they have relied on." โ€“ Getting Comfortable with the Gender Spectrum

This year, we are taking gender one step further and bringing intersectionality into the picture. The reason that trans women irk the right and TERFs so much is the intersectionality of it all. Trans women threaten Nikki Haley's understanding of what a woman is because the definition of woman for them is strictly white. Honey Mahogany spoke to that beautifully during our podcast conversation last week.

"There are well-documented studies showing that femininity, as defined in Western culture, was used to create a different separateness of white civility and femininity versus brown and black animalisticness, identifying the latter as primitive and less defined by binary gender roles. This was used to justify misogyny and control. The idea of male supremacy and a patriarchal society was a constructed lie, and when trans women, especially trans women of color, say no to that, it shakes the foundation of that lie." โ€“ Honey Mahogany
๐ŸŽ™ Indigenous Queer History & Gender Joy with Honey Mahogany
In Conversation with Honey Mahogany

Expanding Beyond the Binary

Black and brown trans women shake the foundation of our societal order. And frankly, our societal order needs it. As the world evolves, so much of our focus is on progress and inventing new. AI is the latest buzzword with not much to back it up (more on that soon). Despite Western society wanting "progress" for progress sake, we can reject that notion and turn to the past and the future for answers in this time.

We can collectively rewaken to ancient wisdom that societies have forgotten or tried to erase. Indigenous queer culture in the Americas was nearly buried with the countless lives lost from the genocide of Native people from colonial powers and eventually the United States of America. While colonialists couldn't eradicate the entire population, they sure tried and used every tactic in their violent arsenal including forced migration, outlawing cultural norms, kidnapping children and putting them into boarding schools, and so much more.

White settlers focused particularly on a range of tactics to silence and shame the queer culture out of the community. The now more commonly known phrase, "Kill the Indian, Save the Man" rings true. The phrase coined by Brigadier General Richard Henry Pratt was the philosophy he used to build the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, a boarding school for stolen native children to force them to assimilate to white society. This forced assimilation included adhering to strict gender roles and punishment for any acts that appeared queer. At the root of the colonial destruction of Native American societies was destroying queer indigenous culture. If you kill the queerness out of the culture, they might be easier to control was and still is the thinking today. If we are to progress beyond the gender binary, we need to understand the root of how white supremacist capitalist patriarchy uses gender and sexuality as means of control and how that impacts our lives.

In this months series, we are going to dive into the history of Indigenous queer culture, how white supremacy tried to repress it, and how we can learn about resilience and movement building through Indigenous queer culture.

I'm particularly excited for this series because it's been an opportunity to explore my own ancestry in a way I have never done before. Being born and raised in Texas, while also having New Mexican ancestry is an interesting mix of intersectionality. On the surface, I am white and look very femme, but I'm also Latine, queer, and so much more. I love the expansiveness of my identities, but it's not always easy in a culture that sees skin color only. This month's series is an exploration for all of us. We each need to go on our own gender journeys even if you land right back where you started, because it allows us to get closer to ourselves. When we know ourselves, it a lot harder for other people to label you and it allows you to stand on firmer ground against bigotry.

"Exploring indigenous queer culture as someone with New Mexican ancestors is fascinating because it feels like coming back home to a queerness that was already deep inside me but was obscured because of the cultures we grew up in." โ€“ Indigenous Queer History & Gender Joy with Honey Mahogany

As I write this, I can see my grandmother's kachina doll and smell the piรฑon incense burning inside my adobe incense hut. ๐Ÿœ ๐Ÿ˜Š

For this series, I will primarily focus on the Americas but there are queer histories and cultures in other parts of the world that mirror American indigenous perspectives of gender and sexuality. Listen to our podcast for a more global focus. See you next week for a look back to colonial times.

Note: We respectfully acknowledge that the Roots of Change Agency lives and grows on the unceded lands of the Ramaytush Ohlone people. We donate a portion of our monthly revenue to support the present-day effort to rematriate the land. Learn more and how to donate on our website.

Getting to the roots - evaluating the news with a social change lens
  • ๐Ÿ“š Why Are Africans the Cost of the Clean Energy Future? - Capital B News has a great piece on how capitalists are extracting Africaโ€™s minerals and the biggest cost are African lives. They also dissect how Black activists in the U.S. are fighting the exploitation of Black resources and workers in the Congo.
    • ๐Ÿค“ The Root ๐ŸŒฑ - This is why bell hooks calls it white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. Capitalism is intrinsically tied to white supremacy, because the system needs an exploited class in order to sustain the riches at the top. Something to consider next time youโ€™re deciding if you really need that new iPhone.
  • ๐Ÿ“š Rivers are People too! - A Peruvian court ruled that a river has legal rights to "exist, flow, and be free from pollution."
    • ๐Ÿค“ The Root ๐ŸŒฑ - While this opinion is not common in the West, the belief that rivers, animals, and nature are people is a common Indigenous belief. Itโ€™s also one that is anti-capitalist because it places the earth over profit.
  • ๐ŸŽฌ Idaho Adult Only Libraries to Hide the Truth - Idaho Republicans have passed a bill that mandate that public libraries are โ€œadult onlyโ€ despite an organized campaign from parents and librarians against the measure.
    • ๐Ÿค“ The Root ๐ŸŒฑ - This is very simply an attempt to keep knowledge from children so they donโ€™t learn about the systemic injustices in our society. The GOP saw that Gen Z learned about systems of oppression and theyโ€™re trying to stop Gen Alpha. It wonโ€™t work, but itโ€™s a serious threat.
getting to the roots - navigating tech, media, and communications

Get Ready for Googleโ€™s Search AI Upheaval

Your search experience as a user and a communicator is about to change. And the changes will be dramatic! Google has begun adding AI search suggestions to the top of search results.

  • AI search results are generated from a partnership with Reddit to use their data to train AI.
  • Hence, why you get glue as an ingredient for pizza. Get ready for more junk! As a user, it will be harder to sort through good and bad search results
  • The future SEO is very uncertain. Itโ€™s unclear how these changes will change search engine optimization strategies.
  • For communicators, organic search and paid search are changing and it will impact your strategy. Donโ€™t rely too heavily on one platform or strategy. Things are wild out there!
  • Make sure youโ€™re subscribed to our newsletter for social change communicators (update your preferences) and stay tuned for more in-depth analysis and how you can respond!
Generative AI in Search: Let Google do the searching for you
Weโ€™re bringing AI Overviews to everyone in the U.S. and adding new gen AI experiences to take more of the legwork out of searching.

Y'all means all! We're talking inclusive language this month!

Does the language you use push away people you are trying to reach? Join us on June 12th to learn about inclusive languageโ€”especially with July being Disability Pride Month. Topics we will cover in the 30-minute session include:

  • How to feel prepared for Disability Pride Month
  • Strategies to integrate inclusive language
  • How to communicate when you've shared language that is not inclusive.

When Wednesday, June 12th, at 12:30 pm EST/9:30 am PST.

We hope to see you there! Share this with friends and colleagues too!

๐Ÿซ‚ Inclusive Language | Set Yourself Up Lunch & Learn ยท Zoom ยท Luma
Join us on June 12th to learn how to shift towards inclusive language in your outreach. We will discuss micro and macro tactics. Topics we will cover in theโ€ฆ

let's grow together - reflections, ideas, and curiosities of the week

The revolution is shadow banned. Find our latest videos on our ๐ŸŽฌ Quick Bites page.


The Revolution is Shadowbanned All words by me Inspired by Gil Scott-Heronโ€™s The Revolution Wont be Televised ๐Ÿ™Œ ๐Ÿ‰๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธโœจ #revolution #shadowbanned๐Ÿ˜” #spokenword #poetrytok

โ™ฌ original sound - Virgin X

And that's a wrap on this weekโ€™s newsletter! We hope you found this helpful in your work. Forward this to a friend and help democratize communications! If you have any topics you want covered or have any questions, please reach out and let me know.

In Solidarity,
Sam Chavez
Roots of Change Founder

Donate to Support Our Work โ€” Our work is 100% reader-supported and not funded by grants, organizations, or investors. Paying subscribers are greatly appreciated and help fund our efforts so we can release more content for the whole community!
๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Queering Life๐Ÿ‘‘ Defeating White Supremacy๐Ÿ—ผ๐Ÿ—ž: Newsletter๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ for activists & heart-first humans ๐ŸŒฑโค๏ธโ€๐Ÿ”ฅ Our Inner Growth

Sam Chavez

Sam is a writer, strategist, and curious human. She founded the roots of change agency in 2020. Sam is a queer, white, LatinX activist whoโ€™s passionate about a livable planet & equitable societies.


Navigating heart-first activism & storytelling. We explore the ๐ŸŒฑ roots of our world to support communicators, organizations, and activists ๐Ÿฅต to avoid burnout and ๐Ÿ“š tell empathetic stories that cultivate connections that ๐ŸŒ empower โœŠ๐Ÿฝ social change.

Learn more about the Roots of Change Agency.