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Native American & Indigenous Studies

Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) is an interdisciplinary field that explores the diverse and complex experiences, histories, cultures, and contemporary lives and challenges of Native and Indigenous peoples in the Americas and beyond.

Welcome + About

Welcome to the Native American & Indigenous Studies subject guide for Indiana University Bloomington

We're glad you're here. This guide contains information pertaining to the subject areas of race, migration, and Indigeneity. Here you'll find featured contenthelpful resources and services for scholarsinstructional support informationresearch & writing tipsnew titles, and recommended resources. You can also hover over each item in the navigation menu to the left for a brief description of what you'll find there; if you're using a mobile device, there is also a summary on each page.

The subject specialist and library liaison for this area is nicholae cline. If you would like to contact them, please use the profile box located on the left-hand side of this page. If you would like to request a purchase for our collections, you can use this form.

To learn more about who we are and the services we offer, including links to key general library services, take a look at the About Us page of this guide.

About Native American & Indigenous Studies

Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) is an interdisciplinary field that explores the diverse and complex experiences, histories, cultures, and contemporary lives and challenges of Native and Indigenous peoples in the Americas and beyond. NAIS draws from various disciplines such as history, anthropology, literature, law, ethnic studies, cultural studies, and more to examine the political sovereignty, intergovernmental relations, cultural expressions, social movements, and environmental challenges and activism of Native and Indigenous communities. NAIS also critically engages with the colonial legacies, racial formations, and epistemological frameworks that shape the representation and understanding of Native and Indigenous peoples across time.

To learn more about the College of Arts & Sciences Program in Native American & Indigenous Studies, please visit their website. Because this program maintains close ties with our cultural center, we encourage you to also learn about and connect with the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center as well.

The Global Indigenous Studies Network is another helpful resource for anyone who is interested in indigeneity from a global perspective.

Featured | Spotlight on Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQIA Peoples

This page provides suggested resources (books, video & film, articles & databases) relevant to Two-Spirit Identity and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA) Indigenous Identity.

The term Two-Spirit (2S, 2Spirit, Two Spirit, Twospirited) was coined in 1990 at the Indigenous lesbian and gay international gathering in Winnipeg. The term is a pan-Indian, umbrella term used by a number of Indigenous Native Americans to describe Native Peoples who fulfill traditional third-gender or variant-gender roles in their communities and cultures. The term is generally accepted but faces controversy from critics who consider it as reinforcing western notions of binary gender or attempting to erase terms that already exist in traditional communities for gender-variant members. 

Acceptance, treatment, status, and rights of LGBTQIA Indigenous peoples and Two-Spirit individuals have varied historically. Contemporary understandings of Two-Spirit identity and what it means to be Indigenous and LGBTQIA vary greatly from tribe to tribe. We hope the resources collected in these pages will help readers gain a nuanced understanding of Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA Indigenous Identity. 

Video: Nick Metcalf gives insight into his experiences being a two spirit, and explains why gender fluidity is necessary in today’s world | TEDx (2015).

About the Playlist

This mix features two-spirit and other Indigenous LGBTQIA and nonbinary/transgender artists from across Turtle Island, as well as other parts of the world. A work in progress, we welcome suggestions for artists from these groups for inclusion.

Note: To enjoy the playlist in full, click on the white Spotify icon in the upper-right corner of the playlist, and press the "like" (♡) button in the application to save.

To learn more about the artists and communities represented in this playlist, check out some of the resources we consulted:

Further Reading & Resources

Next Steps

If you'd like to learn more about this month-long celebration of Indigenous communities and identity, we've created a guide with list of resources, as well as a playlist featuring Indigenous musicians, on the Media Studies Research Guide. There is also an overview of Indigenous Philosophy on the Philosophy Research Guide. 

For more information about the Indigenous communities with ongoing and traditional ties to this land, and how to support Indigenous groups and movements, take a look at our Land Acknowledgment and Local Indigenous Resources guide.






Featured Videos


Feature Films

Short Films

  • "I Still Believe"  - Short film by Raven Davis about love, hope and wonder. 
  • "It's Not Your Fault"  - Short movie by Raven Davis about the violence of online comments made towards Indigenous people, specifically Indigenous Women, children and 2 Spirit people. Bringing attention to the negligence of online/social media outlets allowing hate speech in Canada.
  • Kent Monkman Studios - compilation of short films on YouTube from Kent Monkman (also known as Miss Chief Eagle Testickle), a Canadian artist of Cree ancestry working in a variety of mediums, including painting, film/video, performance and installation.
  • "Mars-Womb-Man"  - short film by James Diamond. Man from Venus (super 8, 4 min, 1998) meets Mars Womb-Man. She's an answer without a question and he a question without answer. A sustainable foreground emerges only when they forge paths. A motion portrait where opposites distract and the peripheral rule is born.
  • "Meskanahk (My Path)"  - 'Meskanahk' is a video narrative of a young 'half-breed' man's journey off a Cree reserve. This video highlights the motivations that progressed his journey and the questions, regrets and fears raised on his path from childhood to adulthood. 'Meskanahk' chronicles the plight of this young man's fears of being in situations where he was always labeled as an: 'other', and how this had propelled him to run from situation to situation. In the end, when this young man stops running, he wonders if his parents hate him for having run away. 
  • The Misadventures of Pussy Boy  - series of animated shorts by Alec Butler, featuring Alick, a trans/2spirit/intersex teen, going on various misadventures. 
  • Thirza Cuthand  - collection of short films by queer transgender Plains Cree artist TJ Cuthand. 
  • Two-Spirit & Queer  (NFB) - Collection of films by Indigenous two-spirit and queer filmmakers, from the National Film Board of Canada. 
  • Tits on a Bull - short film by Tim Worrall. Set in a Maori women's rugby team, Tits on a Bull follows Phoenix, the young star player, as she struggles to choose between her longtime friendship with aging coach Rusty or her new relationship with lesbian team-captain, Mel.

Other Online Videos

  • 21st International Two Spirit Gathering Powwow  - footage is of the Grand Entry of the 21 International Two-Spirit Gathering held at Aspen Lodge in Estes Park Colorado, for the Two-Spirit Society of Denver.
  • As They Are: Two-Spirit People in the Modern World  - 20 minute film by Mike Garrido and Tarek Tohme featuring Elton Naswood (Navajo), Ben Lucero Wolf (Kiowa), and Richard Eric Dearmore (Paiute).
  • C2C: Two Spirit and Queer People of Colour Conference  - C2C: Two Spirit & Queer People of Colour Call to Conversation with LGBT & Allies" met from Friday, October 20 to Sunday, October 22, 2017 at The University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Manitoba. C2C was hosted by the University of Winnipeg (UW) in partnership with Two-Spirit People of Manitoba and QTPOC Winnipeg.
  • The Candy Show  - The Candy Show is a National variety TV series featuring the Aboriginal Comedian Candy Palmater and her music guest and a Performing artist on each episode.
  • Ma-Nee Chacaby talks about Two Spirit identities  - Author and Indigenous elder Ma-Nee Chacaby talks about Two Spirit identities.
  • Our Families: LGBT / Two Spirit Native American Stories  - We all go through some of the same struggles: we struggle to access healthy food, quality education, and affordable healthcare. These struggles affect Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) families of color in very unique ways. This Our Families video features Native LGBT/Two Spirit families sharing their personal stories of struggle, acceptance, and family.
  • Queer Profiles: Alec Butler  (Cathexis LGBTQ Oral History) - In this fascinating interview, award-winning filmmaker, playwright and 2spirit/trans/intersex activist Alec Butler shares his story of growing up queer in Cape Breton and being drawn to art as a way of getting through decades of questioning his identity and gender.
  • Two Spirit   (Injunuity) - Two Spirit: A person of First Nations or Native American descent possessing both a male and female spirit. An umbrella term used to describe the fluidity of First Nations/Native American gender identity and sexuality with respect to traditional tribal roles. Featuring: Mica Valdez (Mexica), Nazbah Tom (Navajo/Diné), Arlando Teller (Navajo/Diné), Charlie Ballard (Anishinaabe, Sac & fox), Esther Lucero (Navajo/Diné).
  • Two Spirit People  - An overview of historical and contemporary Native American concepts of gender, sexuality and sexual orientation. This documentary explores the berdache tradition in Native American culture, in which individuals who embody feminine and masculine qualities act as a conduit between the physical and spiritual world, and because of this are placed in positions of power within the community.

Streaming Resources

Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQIA Drag Artists

Academic Texts

Selected Scholarly Articles

Suggested Keywords for database searches relating to Two-Spirit and queer Indigenous* identity: 

*while there is some overlap and commonalities in understandings of gender and sexuality across groups, when doing research relevant to Indigenous identities, it is always best practice to search using the names of individual tribes, nations, and communities when possible




First Nations


POC (people of color)

BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color)










Sexual Orientation

Two-spirit (sometimes "two spirit", "two spirited" or "two-spirited")




Gender Studies
















Relevant Databases

Online Resources

Selection of resources freely available online

Lists of Resources & Readings

Lists of recommended titles from online sources

Recent Additions

Routledge Handbook of Critical Indigenous Studies

The Routledge Handbook of Critical Indigenous Studies is the first comprehensive overview of the rapidly expanding field of Indigenous scholarship. The book is ambitious in scope, ranging across disciplines and national boundaries, with particular reference to the lived conditions of Indigenous peoples in the first world. The contributors are all themselves Indigenous scholars who provide critical understandings of indigeneity in relation to ontology (ways of being), epistemology (ways of knowing), and axiology (ways of doing) with a view to providing insights into how Indigenous peoples and communities engage and examine the worlds in which they are immersed. Sections include: * Indigenous Sovereignty * Indigeneity in the 21st Century * Indigenous Epistemologies * The Field of Indigenous Studies * Global Indigeneity This handbook contributes to the re-centring of Indigenous knowledges, providing material and ideational analyses of social, political, and cultural institutions and critiquing and considering how Indigenous peoples situate themselves within, outside, and in relation to dominant discourses, dominant postcolonial cultures and prevailing Western thought. This book will be of interest to scholars with an interest in Indigenous peoples across Literature, History, Sociology, Critical Geographies, Philosophy, Cultural Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Native Studies, Māori Studies, Hawaiian Studies, Native American Studies, Indigenous Studies, Race Studies, Queer Studies, Politics, Law, and Feminism.

Cover art for book, image links to catalog record for title

Making Love with the Land

A moving and deeply personal excavation of Indigenous beauty and passion in a suffering world. In Making Love with the Land, his first nonfiction book, Whitehead explores the relationships between body, language, and land through creative essay, memoir, and confession. In prose that is evocative and sensual, unabashedly queer and visceral, raw and autobiographical, Whitehead writes of an Indigenous body in pain, coping with trauma. Deeply rooted within, he reaches across the anguish to create a new form of storytelling he calls "biostory"--beyond genre, and entirely sovereign. Through this narrative perspective, Making Love with the Land recasts mental health struggles and our complex emotional landscapes from a nefarious parasite on his (and our) well-being to kin, even a relation, no matter what difficulties they present to us. Whitehead ruminates on loss and pain without shame or ridicule but rather highlights waypoints for personal transformation. Written in the aftermath of heartbreak, before and during the pandemic, Making Love with the Land illuminates this present moment in which both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are rediscovering old ways and creating new ones about connection with and responsibility toward each other and the land. Intellectually audacious and emotionally compelling, Whitehead shares his devotion to the world in which we live and brilliantly--even joyfully--maps his experience on the land that has shaped stories, histories, and bodies from time immemorial.

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Nature Poem

Nature Poem follows Teebs--a young, queer, American Indian (or NDN) poet--who can't bring himself to write a nature poem. For the reservation-born, urban-dwelling hipster, the exercise feels stereotypical, reductive, and boring. He hates nature. He prefers city lights to the night sky. He'd slap a tree across the face. He'd rather write a mountain of hashtag punchlines about death and give head in a pizza-parlor bathroom; he'd rather write odes to Aretha Franklin and Hole. While he's adamant--bratty, even--about his distaste for the word "natural," over the course of the book we see him confronting the assimilationist, historical, colonial-white ideas that collude NDN people with nature. The closer his people were identified with the "natural world," he figures, the easier it was to mow them down like the underbrush. But Teebs gradually learns how to interpret constellations through his own lens, along with human nature, sexuality, language, music, and Twitter. Even while he reckons with manifest destiny and genocide and centuries of disenfranchisement, he learns how to have faith in his own voice.

Cover art for book, image links to catalog record for title

she walks for days inside a thousand eyes (a two-spirit story)

In she walks for days inside a thousand eyes (a two spirit story), Sharron Proulx-Turner combines poetry and history to delve into the little-known lives of two-spirit women. Regarded with both wonder and fear when first encountered by the West, First Nations women living with masculine and feminine principles in the same body had important roles to play in society, as healers and visionaries, before they were suppressed during the colonial invasion. She walks for days inside a thousand eyes (a two-spirit story) creatively juxtaposes first-person narratives and traditional stories with the voices of contemporary two-spirit women, voices taken from nature and the teachings of Water, Air, Fire and Mother Earth. The author restores the reputation of two-spirit woman that had been long under attack from Western culture as she re-appropriates the lives of these individuals from the writings of Western anthropologists and missionaries. (From Turnstone Press)

Living Resistance: An Indigenous Vision for Seeking Wholeness Every Day

In an era in which "resistance" has become tokenized, popular Indigenous author Kaitlin Curtice reclaims it as a basic human calling. Resistance is for every human who longs to see their neighbors' holistic flourishing. We each have a role to play in the world right where we are, and our everyday acts of resistance hold us all together.Curtice shows that we can learn to practice embodied ways of belonging and connection to ourselves and one another through everyday practices, such as getting more in touch with our bodies, resting, and remembering our ancestors. She explores four "realms of resistance"--the personal, the communal, the ancestral, and the integral--and shows how these realms overlap and why all are needed for our liberation. Readers will be empowered to seek wholeness in whatever spheres of influence they inhabit.

Cover art for book, image links to catalog record for title

My Woman Card Is Anti-Native, and Other Two-Spirit Truths

"My Woman Card is anti-Native & Other Two-Spirit Truths" is a book of free verse poems, haikus and sonnets inspired by a conversation with the Legendary Venus Selenite, by the author's love for classical theatre, by her connection to her community, and by her experiences navigating eurocentrism in medicine & social life.

cover art for book, image links to catalog record for title

Critical Race Media Literacy

This volume offers deeper exploration and advancement of critical race media literacy, a concept which fuses the genres of media literacy and critical media literacy with critical race theory to bring a new and salient frame to the discussion of media literacy across all levels of education in today’s globalized, race-based, and media-saturated climate. Bridging the gap in research that has not addressed the ways in which media is a conduit of racial dialogue and ideology, the book brings together a diverse group of scholars that explore their perspectives on critical race media literacy as it is experienced from the interface and consumption of a variety of media texts and social phenomena. Topics addressed include news literacy, children’s literature, Black political movements, media protests, and ethnic rock—Critical Race Media Literacy addresses these topics within existing media literacy contexts to enhance media literacy scholarship and educational pedagogy. This book will provide a timely and important resource not only for scholars and students of media literacy and media education but also for educators working in diverse learning settings.

Cover art for book, image links to catalog record for title

Algonquian Spirit: contemporary translations of the Algonquian literatures of North America

When Europeans first arrived on this continent, Algonquian languages were spoken from the northeastern seaboard through the Great Lakes region, across much of Canada, and even in scattered communities of the American West. The rich and varied oral tradition of this Native language family, one of the farthest-flung in North America, comes brilliantly to life in this remarkably broad sampling of Algonquian songs and stories from across the centuries. Ranging from the speech of an early unknown Algonquian to the famous Walam Olum hoax, from retranslations of "classic" stories to texts appearing here for the first time, these are tales written or told by Native storytellers, today as in the past, as well as oratory, oral history, and songs sung to this day.   An essential introduction and captivating guide to Native literary traditions still thriving in many parts of North America, Algonquian Spirit contains vital background information and new translations of songs and stories reaching back to the seventeenth century. Drawing from Arapaho, Blackfeet, Cheyenne, Cree, Delaware, Maliseet, Menominee, Meskwaki, Miami-Illinois, Mi'kmaq, Naskapi, Ojibwe, Passamaquoddy, Potawatomi, and Shawnee, the collection gathers a host of respected and talented singers, storytellers, historians, anthropologists, linguists, and tribal educators, both Native and non-Native, from the United States and Canada--all working together to orchestrate a single, complex performance of the Algonquian languages.

Grandfather's Song

A troubled Lenape Indian asks the Great Spirit for a vision. In Talking Coyote's vision, a giant who calls himself, the Keeper-of-the-animals, visits him. The Keeper tells him all the animals have been saved from mankind in the Old World the Native Americans left behind millennia ago, The Old World, man left behind to come to this world to live with their brothers and sisters the animals, birds and fish. The Keeper tells Talking Coyote that the Native peoples must come back to the Old World to help maintain balance."Grandfather's Song" is the story of the Jefferson and Cornplanter families and Talking Coyote's attempt to find his way to the Old World. Flashbacks to Lenape legends and ancient stories told around campfires tell him the path to take. Along the way he meets other Keepers and people who will help him with his vision. His success in bringing the Native people to the Old World broke up families and tribes along religious lines. Those Native Americans and other ancient peoples who have converted to a religion other than that of their ancestors are left behind when Talking Coyote leads the people to the Old World.The Native peoples return to the Old World to live in the old ways the Great Spirit had taught their ancestors, to live and hunt among the animals, and to live a life of balance and harmony with nature. The indigenous people of the world find themselves free to live as their ancestors had once lived, governed only by their religion and their tribal members.

Cover art for book, image links to catalog record for title

Peepankisaapiikahkia Eehkwaatamenki: Myaamia Ribbonwork

When a culture reawakens, that renewal can come in many forms. This book is part of the Myaamia community's ongoing cultural revitalization and aims to educate about the rich history of Miami patterns and their application to ribbonwork beginning in the late 1700s. Myaamia people used the geometric ribbonwork to adorn clothing for special occasions for both men and women, especially leggings, skirts and moccasins.This text is designed to assist in the reawakening of ribbonwork among the Miamis and includes:A history of Miami ribbonwork showing how the geometric patterns were used with other materials as well.Instructions for 3 ribbonwork projects, along with a list of necessary supplies and illustrated explanations of the various stitches used.Images of historic Miami ribbonwork found in North American collections.Examples of contemporary uses for ribbonwork patterns to help inspire community members to find ways to bring ribbonwork patterns into their daily lives.

Cover art for book, image links to catalog record for title

Super Indian Volume One

The comic adventures of an ordinary Reservation boy that eats tainted commodity cheese and gains super powers. Hubert Logan becomes a Reservation Sensation while helping his small Native American tribe.

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