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Eiteljorg Insider | Five Questions with TWO SPIRITS director Lydia Nibley

by Jaq Nigg, Eiteljorg festivals and events manager | Sep 25, 2013


Two Spirits director Lydia Nibley

Lydia Nibley's Two Spirits is the powerful documentary that tells the story of Fred Martinez – a Navajo boy who was beaten to death because his killer believed he was gay. Martinez actually considered himself “Two-Spirit,” or “nadleehi” – a Navajo term for a male-bodied person with a feminine essence.

At 12:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28,  Two Spirits will be screened at the Eiteljorg. The film explores the bullying and violence commonly faced by LGBT people, and the epidemic of LGBT teen suicide. It also reveals the range of gender expression long seen as a healthy part of many of the indigenous cultures of North America.

Lydia will join an expert panel this Saturday, at the museum, to discuss her award-winning film. But we wanted Eiteljorg visitors to learn a little more about our honored guest before she arrives.

What is your favorite piece of artwork at the Eiteljorg?
I feel drawn to historic artifacts that connect me to the people who came before—clothing and objects that were used every day.

What inspires you?
Finding stories to tell that can make a difference by opening hearts and minds to a new perspective.

If you could spend an afternoon with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
With my film Two Spirits in mind, Hastiin Klah, 1867-1937, the great Navajo medicine person, sandpainter and weaver who was third-gender. It would be fascinating to spend an afternoon in his company.  

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Patti Smith, who provided music for Two Spirits says, “It’s the artist’s responsibility to balance mystical communication and the labor of creation.” I love that.

 What is one of your favorite quotes?
“Work is love made visible.” – Kahlil Gibran

What should we ask you that you want us to know about?
Will you ask me what’s next for Two Spirits? Thanks for asking! We’re working hard (with mixed success) to make the case to philanthropists and foundations that the film needs to be available in more colleges, universities, high schools and libraries nationwide. We get such great reports about the impact of the film—suicide prevention, anti-bullying, deepening the conversation around sexuality and gender in ways that make a difference now and in the future. We’re just going to keep asking for support and hoping…and asking.

For more information about Two Spirits, visit www.twospirits.org

HOW YOU CAN HELP FUND TWO SPIRITS

The museum is asking for the community's support through the Power2Give project -which empowers you to give directly to local arts projects you are passionate about. It will cost $4,900 to bring the Two Spirits presentation to the Eiteljorg. Chase Bank is matching the dollars - but if we don't raise the full amount, the matching money goes away.

As of Sept. 26, the Eiteljorg needs $1,635 to fully fund this LGBT program.  Any dollar amount helps.

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