The Navajo Nation lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit community and its allies will host the largest Indigenous Pride in the country in its sovereign capital of Window Rock, Arizona - from June 14-20, 2021.
All planned events will be virtual with a few in-person safe events that will acknowledge the lifelong work of our Navajo matriarchs - the Indigenous women who uplift our Sovereign Nations.
Organizers from Diné Pride have announced a monumental week-long celebration that includes several virtual community conversations for women, an LGBTQIA+ young women's panel, a COVID Memorial Ceremony, a Drive-In Pride Festival with national headliners, and the first-ever Indigenous Pride Parade in the United States.
In a press release from Diné Pride Executive Director, Alray Nelson said,
Our Indigenous mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and sisters are to be uplifted, protected, and honored as the matriarchs of our Sovereign Nations. Only through the leadership of our Native Women can we remain resilient. Our Sovereign Nations are strong as we continue to defeat this monster called COVID-19. Our Diné Pride leaders are planning a summer of safe events that will reflect our theme and uplift the voices of the warrior women who have been here since creation.
Using the sacredness of Diné principles and the history of our people, Diné Pride will continue its Naatsillid Rainbow Scholarship Program and award two young people this fall semester to attend college. The online application opens this month.
Diné Pride Academic Director, Nicole Johnny added,
The sacred resilience of our Indigenous Women highlights the matriarchs around us. Our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and sisters form one of the foundational aspects of Diné society, especially as we are a matrilineal one. Diné Pride chose this theme because the stories of our women need to be heard. We need to protect, listen, and use our voices to bring equitable change for everyone.
The 24th Navajo Nation Council passed Legislation -140-20, proclaiming the third week of June as Diné Pride Week. Sponsored by Budget and Finance Committee member Nathaniel Brown, the legislation was approved 12-9 by the Naabik’iyati Committee and then by a vote of 14-8 by the tribal council. The Council Chamber will display all the LGBTQIA+ Pride flags that week.
Diné Pride Champion and Council Delegate, Nathaniel Brown, added,
Assaults are being perpetuated towards our LGBTQIA+ community and it often goes unreported. Navajo leadership has not addressed this issue accordingly. These problems are real. It is now time that we treat our LGBTQIA+ family members with respect and compassion. They are our relatives and Navajo law should reflect it. Diné Pride Week is about the acknowledgment of our families and our LGBTQ+ youth
24th Navajo Nation Council Speaker, Seth Damon, acknowledged Diné Pride Week by signing a proclamation in front of the Council Chamber in June 2020. He announced plans to review the Navajo Nation's longstanding ban on same-sex marriage and to champion LGBTQ+ rights legislation later this year with his colleagues.
Speaker Seth Damon added:
The Navajo Nation Council Chamber is the People's House and all are welcome here - including our gay, lesbian, transgender, and two-spirit family members. It is now time we review Navajo law to ensure it provides necessary LGBTQ+ protections, including the final repeal of the discriminatory Diné Marriage Act. Our citizens should have the right to choose who they love and be respected and accepted here within our great Nation.
Diné Pride Program Director, Josie Rapahelito added:
This is a monumental achievement that puts our Diné values into action by recognizing and honoring our Indigenous LGBTQIA+ relatives. Our ancestors and future generations will forever be grateful for the support of the Navajo Nation Council and the leadership of those who made Diné Pride Week possible.
Supporters interested in volunteering or learning more about Diné Pride, visit us: NavajoNationPride.com