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Two Spirits – Fred Martinez

This afternoon I had the opportunity to view “Two Spirits”, a documentary focusing on the life and brutal murder of Navajo youth Fred Martinez. In a life too short, Fred discovered that he couldn’t limit his identity and the ways in which he expressed and presented himself. One day he was a boy, the following day a girl. In traditional Navajo culture, Fred was nádleehí: a male bodied person with a feminine nature. Dilbaa is the corresponding word for female bodied people with a masculine nature. Whether nádleehí or dilbaa, such people were revered within the Dine’é (the word the Navajo use to refer to themselves) culture and given important roles within its social structures. Fred was murdered because of this unbounded nature. “Two Spirits” also provides revealing looks at a culture’s history not ruled by binary roles and glimpses into the lives of other Native two spirits.

The documentary will air starting this Tuesday, June 14th, on PBS. Visit PBS for more information and show schedules in your area. Please also visit the Two Spirits documentary site.

March 7, 2015
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