Roscoe, Will Papers and Gay American Indian Records

Span Dates: 1970-2007
Bulk Dates:
Volume: 5.5 linear feet


This collection consists of two parts: the second focuses on the Gay American Indians (GAI) records, which span the years 1983 to 1998 and include correspondence; materials related to the GAI Bibliography; audiotapes and transcripts of interviews with GAI leaders from the GAI History Project 1985 with leaders: Beth Brant, Paula Gunn Allen, Randy Burns, Erna Pahe, Salyoqah Channey, Maurice Kenny—two audiotapes and transcripts; publicity materials; grant materials; business reports to the Board of Directors; t-shirts; and buttons. There are also materials related to Living the Spirit: A Gay American Indian Anthology compiled by Gay American Indians and edited by Roscoe. These include contributor files, publisher information, and galleys. The collection also includes newsletters, flyers and AIDS outreach materials produced by and for the American Indian community.

Hist/Bio Note

Will Roscoe is a non-Native anthropologist who studied the GAI. Randy Burns co-founded GAI along with the late Barbara Cameron in 1985, primarily as a social club devoted to uncovering the history of what they termed "two-spirit" people in their traditions. Now, two-spirit is a widely used umbrella term for the diverse gender and sexual identities in North American Native cultures. These identities primarily posit a unique, often spiritual role for two-spirit people. GAI spawned many two-spirit organizations around the country, including the Bay Area American Indian Two Spirits formed in 1999 which holds annual pow-wows that help recreate ceremonies and dances for queer identified people whose history and religious significance were lost during assimilation and boarding school policies. (From Bay Area Reporter (2015).)

Finding Aid

An online finding aid is available through the Online Archives of California.
https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/c85d8sd4/entire_text/?query=gay american indians collection


The GLBT Historical Society of San Francisco holds this collection.


Native American Spirituality | San Francisco | California | Hay, Harry | Nomenus | Radical Faeries