News Briefs: Two-Spirit powwow celebrates Native culture

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday February 7, 2024
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Participants prepared to enter a Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirit Powwow. Photo: Courtesy BAAITS
Participants prepared to enter a Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirit Powwow. Photo: Courtesy BAAITS

This year's Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits 13th annual Powwow will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the LGBTQ group's founding. The powwow will take place Saturday, February 10, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, 2 Marina Boulevard, in San Francisco.

The Grand Entry is scheduled for noon.

All two-spirit, IndigeQueer, and transgender and gender-nonconforming LGBTQIA+ people and their supporters from across the country will come together to celebrate Native culture, build community, and express themselves, a news release stated. The event is open to the public, organizers added.

Jessica Gutierrez Masini, Tzapotl Flores J. Saravia, and Birdie Johnson are the event's co-chairs. They explained that powwows are intertribal social gatherings between Natives and non-Native peoples and are centered around dance, songs, food, and oral histories. Last year's event welcomed more than 4,000 people and an even larger crowd is expected this year, they noted.

Vendors will be onsite selling frybread and other food, as well as Native art and jewelry and other crafts.

"Two-Spirit" is a Native American term for people with both female and male energies. Two-spirits may, or may not, also identify as LGBTQ.

BAAITS was founded to recover and restore the role of Two-Spirit people within the American Indian/First Nation community by creating a forum for the spiritual, cultural, and artistic expression of Two-Spirit people, according to its website. The powwow is its largest annual event.

The powwow is a sober event. BAAITS also has information on etiquette for those attending that can be found on its website.

The event is free though donations are welcome. BAAITS' COVID protocol states that masks are required and will be available. For more information, go to

The 2024 San Francisco Pride theme and logo have been announced. Image: Courtesy SF Pride  

SF Pride 2024 theme announced
"Beacon of Love" is the theme for this year's San Francisco Pride parade and celebration. The announcement was made Monday morning on KGO-TV, the local ABC affiliate that broadcasts the event, by SF Pride board President Nguyen Pham, a gay man, and Executive Director Suzanne Ford, a transgender woman.

SF Pride weekend will be June 29-30.

In other news, SF Pride announced it has unveiled a new website and has started a new project on its social media called "My First Pride," in which memories and photos are shared by people about their first experience at the world-famous event. People are welcome to share their own stories, officials stated.

For more information, go to

Carnaval celebrates Mardi Gras
The organizers of Carnaval San Francisco, the annual May street festival and parade, will get into the Mardi Gras spirit next week with a party crawl in the Mission district on Fat Tuesday, February 13, from 5 to 10 p.m.

People are encouraged to wear costumes, masks (Mardi Gras or for COVID protection), and beads and join the fun at over 20 venues, including the 24th Street BART plaza and numerous party hot spots such as Bissap Baobab SF, Arcana, Kimbara Ritmo y Sabor, and Cha Cha Cha, a news release stated. The event also salutes Afro-Diasporic music and Black History Month, organizers noted.

There will be lively music from Cumbia, Rumba, and Soca; Samba drummers, and dance performances.

To register for free tickets and/or donate, click here.

Name sought for new SF SOMA park
In partnership with community organizations from the South of Market neighborhood, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department is taking proposals for the naming of a new park located within the western part of the district at the intersection of 11th and Natoma streets.

According to Rec and Park's newsletter, this initiative aims to involve the community in selecting a meaningful and appropriate name that resonates with the park's location, historical significance, or honors an individual's contributions to the SOMA community.

The submission deadline is Monday, February 12, with two virtual community meetings to present and review nominations on Tuesday, February 13, and Thursday, March 7, at 6 p.m. For more information, click here.

SF Episcopal church upholds those who have HIV/AIDS
The Church of the Advent of Christ the King, an Episcopal house of worship located at 261 Fell Street in San Francisco, has started recognizing in its Orb newsletter people who suffer from HIV/AIDS, those who have died, and their loved ones. The church years ago started its AIDS candle memorial near the baptismal font that has burned for decades.

The church, under then-Rector Father Bill Rhodes, instituted the candle along with a perpetual novena with words to the effect that "I don't know what we can do about this except to do what we do very well — pray."

The church did more than pray, however, the newsletter article noted. It conducted funerals for those who died and whose families repudiated them, leading to many such services for people whom the parish did not know. "Even though there were considerable expenses related to the many funerals that were held, Fr. Rhodes never turned anyone away who turned to the church for help — either with small monetary amounts or a funeral," the article stated.

Now, while the memorial candle is still present, the novena is no longer offered. But people can send names of those they'd like to honor in the newsletter in a specific month. Names should be sent by the 15th of the month to [email protected]

The Orb will publish first names only. Those who wish to support the memorial candle can do so with a suggested donation of $10-$20 for any given month. Questions can be directed to the Orb's editor at the above email address.

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