‘I want to show the pride’: photo essay of the Two Spirit Indigenous people

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04/13/2021

When Monique “Muffie” Mousseau was in the fourth grade she got expelled from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic school on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota. Her classmates didn’t like the beaded moccasins her grandmother made for her and the two braids she sported, which were held together by hand-beaded hair ties. “I fought back,” she says. Little did she know that would be the start of a long journey of fighting for justice for the Two Spirit Indigenous community, a term used to identify the LGBTQ community throughout Indian Country. Mousseau, 52, and her wife, Felipa De Leon, 51, also from the Pine Ridge Indian reservation, have dedicated their lives to fighting for equal rights for Two Spirit Indigenous peoples locally and nationally. Magdalena Wosinska spent about two weeks in Pine Ridge Indian reservation, sleeping in the basement of a community center, photographing people like Mosseau and De Leon, looking to show the beauty of the Two-Spirit community in Pine Ridge – which is often subject to harsh or pitying headlines.

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