Two Spirit Endowment Honors Memory of Fred C. Martinez
May 16, 2011
Fred C. Martinez, a young Navajo man, was brutally murdered after deciding he didn’t want to choose between being a boy or a girl. Fred self-identified as a gay male, but also expressed the feminine aspect of his personality in his dress and self-presentation. In Navajo culture, this concept is known as nádleehí. Nádleehí transcend limited categorization and lead with a spiritual, sexual, and gender identity outside of the strict dichotomy of gender roles that exist in mainstream Western culture.
The Two Spirit Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established at the American Indian College Fund to honor Fred C. Martinez by providing scholarships for Native two-spirit students and/or students focusing their studies on Two-Spirit cultural traditions at tribal colleges and universities. The Fund would like to extend our deepest appreciation to the James C. Hormel Revocable Living Trust for their donation to launch the Two-Spirit Endowment. Further donations and contributions can be made directly to the American Indian College Fund to the Fred Martinez-Two Spirit Memorial Scholarship Fund.
A documentary about Fred’s life, titled Two Spirits, has been screened nationwide and will appear on PBS-Independent Lens in June. The award-winning documentary offers a sensitive cultural perspective of the dignity and honor two-spirited people have traditionally held within Native cultures. The film premiered at the Denver Starz Film Festival in November 2010 to a standing ovation and has been shown at film festivals and screenings around the country. It won the Best Documentary of 2010 at the prestigious Copenhagen Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark; the Monette-Horwitz Distinguished Achievement Award for outstanding activism, research, and scholarship; and highlighted the British Film Institute’s 23rd annual Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgendered Film Festival.