Our media relations team can respond quickly to your requests. Please contact director of marketing and communications, Bert Beiswanger via email at or call 317.275.1317, public relations manager, Bryan Corbin via email at or call 317.275.1315 or communications coordinator, Hyacinth Rucker via email at or call 317.275.1388.


by DeShong Perry-Smitherman | Aug 22, 2013

For More Information:
DeShong Perry-Smitherman
Public Relations Manager
(317) 275-1352

[NOTE TO POTENTIAL DONORS:  To help the Eiteljorg continue to bring programs like this to our city, donate to the Two Spirits project via Power 2 Give. Chase bank will contribute one dollar for every dollar donated. Just click on Power2Give.]  

[NOTE TO MEDIA: Interviews may be scheduled with Two Spirits director Lydia Nibley and Out West curator Greg Hinton. Contact Eiteljorg PR manager DeShong Perry-Smitherman to set dates/times]


 Fred Martinez was a Navajo boy who was also a girl. 
In an earlier era, he would have been revered.  Instead he was murdered.

 (Indianapolis, IN)— Two Spirits, the powerful documentary that tells the story of the brutal hate crime murder of a 16-year-old transgender Navajo boy, and explores the ancient Native American two-spirit tradition, will be screened at 12:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.  This award-winning film interweaves the tragic death of a young boy with a revealing look at a time when many Native American cultures reserved places of honor for people who defied gender norms.

As a young teenager, Fred Martinez told his mother he felt he was both a boy and a girl. She explained that this was special gift. According to traditional Navajo culture, Fred was considered nádleehí (nod-lay), which is a Navajo term defined as a male-bodied person who has a feminine essence. Unfortunately, Fred’s “gift” was not embraced by all. In June 2001, his body was found on a dirt road in the Southwest Colorado town of Cortez. His murderer had bragged about killing a gay teen, according to an anonymous tip.
 Two Spirits 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. Director Lydia Nibley says she hopes this film helps move attitudes from mere tolerance to a celebration of LGBT and two-spirit people.

 “The film demonstrates how they contribute to their families, friends, and communities not in spite of, but because of who they are… that’s a BIG change,” she says. “It’s about same sex unions having been honored for thousands of years… It’s about respecting who people are and what they have to contribute.”

Two Spirits exposes viewers to the pain of loss experienced by Fred’s mother, but it also shows what some Native activists are doing to restore the rich heritage of two-spirit people within their tribal communities.

The Two Spirits screening at the Eiteljorg, will be followed by a panel discussion that delves more deeply into this cultural phenomenon. The film is part of Out West, the museum’s LGBT program series which illuminates positive contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community to the history and cultures of the American West. The program is included with general admission to the museum.
Two Spirits screening schedule
12:30 p.m.                   Welcome by Gregory Hinton, founder of Out West
12:45 p.m.                   Two Spirits film screening (54 min.)
1:45 – 3:30 p.m.          Panel discussion
3:30 p.m.                     DVD and book signing in Eiteljorg Museum Store

Two Spirits 

Two Spirits panel
- Moderator: Jodi A. Byrd, Ph.D. (Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma), associate professor of American Indian Studies and English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Lydia Nibley, director, Two Spirits
- Brian Joseph Gilley, Ph.D. (Cherokee of Oklahoma), associate professor of anthropology and director of the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center, Indiana University Bloomington; author of Becoming Two-Spirit
- Wesley K. Thomas, Ph.D. (Diné), chair/professor, School of Diné Studies, Education & Leadership, Navajo Technical College (Crownpoint, NM)

About Lydia Nibley (Director/Co-Producer/Co-Writer)
Lydia Nibley of Riding The Tiger Productions is the director, co-producer, and co-writer of the award-winning Two Spirits. Her work has been broadcast internationally and she has created and contributed to works that have received Emmy, Clio, and numerous film festival awards.

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art seeks to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the art, history and cultures of the American West and the indigenous peoples of North America. The museum, which opened in 1989, is located in Downtown Indianapolis’ White River State Park. For general information about the museum and to learn more about exhibits and events, call (317) 636-WEST (9378) or visit


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