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Who We Are 

Our founders Monique "Muffie" Mousseau and Felipa De Leon have dedicated their lives through education and community activism, from building awareness regarding current laws and accepted practices within the tribal nation and state working with local, county, state, tribal, and national law enforcement to address hate crimes, while developing programs and curriculums for schools and educators to engage our youth on the experiences and challenges of being Native Two-Spirit LGBTQ. 

The couple's journey begin in May of 2019 when they had to address the realities of their own tribe’s non-existing laws of protection or rights to marriage equality. On July 8, 2019, ordinance #19-24 was enacted recognizing Marriage Equality for the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe, also, on September 4, 2019 ordinance #19-37 was enacted, amending the Hate Crime Law to include gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.

 

These critical ordinances provide protections for all Two Spirit LGBTQ.

Background

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, but not for the 573 federally recognized tribes.  “Tribes have the right to make the decision themselves,” said Marcia Zug, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law who specializes in family and federal Indian law.

“Muffie” and Felipa grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation reservation, but found they could not be married there in 2015. The couple received a license in Pennington County and wed at a group ceremony at Mount Rushmore.

The two women began petitioning for changes in the reservation’s law, resulting in the passage of same-sex marriage.

“We are looking out for future generations, for protections and for equality,” Mousseau told the Rapid City Journal. “These foundations of laws have to be in place because we have grandkids. And that next generation coming up, we don’t want them experiencing the same (gay) bashing, we don’t want them to get to a point where somebody says a bad word to them because they like somebody of the same sex and they hang themselves. We don’t want that.”

Mousseau and De Leon live in Rapid City, but some of their children and  grandchildren live on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Mission

To advance LGBTQ-2S (native two spirit) social and legal equality. This includes environmental action which is at the foundation of building a healthy and equitable life for all.

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Our Mission in Action

  • Through cultural and educational interaction with all indigenous tribes, cities, counties, states, and schools.

  • Through multi media interviews and presentations

 

  •  Through grassroots organizational training and public events

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Vision

Our vision is to see a society, both within and without Indian country that values all people equally.

We see the land we live on as our precious home, our mother – Unci Maka, which requires protection and is not merely a resource to exploit. We envision all living beings as our relatives, Mitakyue oyasin.

 

We bring this vision to our tribal communities, our local and national governments.

We do this through education, consultation, and community outreach. We work to make laws that include equality for all and that enact justice for hate crimes. We work  through direct actions with the environment to be sure our lands and water are clean and that our air is pure for ourselves and our future generations.

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Our Core Values 

As Lakota we strive to be Wo Lakota which means walking the Lakota Sacred way of life. It embodies the qualities of Humility, Perseverance, Respect, Honor, Love, Sacrifice, Truth, Compassion, Bravery, Fortitude, Generosity and Wisdom. 

Meet the Team

 

"We are advocates/activists for Native American Two Spirit LGBTQ to integrate the acceptance of ALL.  We do this for our community, all people, and future generations." 
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Felipa De Leon

Co-Founder - Treasurer

Felipa's Lakota name is Tecigila Wi (She is Loved) FELIPA DELEON, she is Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Felipa is in a same-sex relationship with her wife Monique “Muffie” Mousseau for 15+ years and been married 6 years. They have 5 children and 6 grandchildren. They are both alcohol and drug free.

Felipa was in the workforce for 30 years. She studied business administration and management with the emphasis in accounting. She has certificates in early childhood development. She has many accomplishments in her life, the ones she is most proud of are her 5 children and 6 grandchildren. She is also proud of being part of monumental events which is passing the Marriage Equality Law on July 8th, 2019, passing the Hate Crime Protection Laws for the LGBTQ 2 spirit on September 4th, 2019, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, passing the Hate Crime Protection Law on December 11, 2019, on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation and helped bring together the Hate Crime Bill # 166 to the state of South Dakota.

She is native first and advocate for Native LGBTQ 2 spirit, Native American Rights, Elderly and Child Protection, Veterans and Disabled, Suicide Prevention, Domestic Violence, MMIWM, Minority Discrimination, Protector of Mother Earth (Water/Land/Air).

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Monique "Muffy" Mousseau

Co-Founder - Chief Executive Officer

Muffy's Lakota name is Canupa mani Wi (Walks with Pipe Women) .She is a member of the Oglala Lakota oyate." I am alcohol and drug free and been in a relationship for 15+ years, married 6 years to my beautiful wife, Felipa De Leon.  I am a True Rez’er and able to be an urban native."

She has a bachelor’s degree in Education, Associate Arts and a Science degree in Natural Resources Management, Pre-engineering. She has served as Oglala Sioux Rural Water Supply System Easement Coordinator and is an IPA Federal Certified Police Officer. Knowledgeable of Federal Laws which govern Native American Reservations. 

Competed in all sports, traveled throughout the western United States for Pow Wow/Rodeoing Little Britches, High School, College, Professional and Indian Rodeo, Travelled for Golfing Tournaments along the West Coast. Also, learned how to curl while living in North Dakota.  Advocate/Activist for: child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, homelessness, Native American Rights, Minority Discrimination, MMIWM, Native American LGBTQ2S. Promotes culture, education, equity, Involved in many protections of Mother Earth (Water/Land/Air) marches and protests. Strong equality beliefs. Involved in community concept of pro-active teachings for the next generations.  Strong in the belief of Mitakuye Oyasin, Mother Earth, all connections.

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Lauren Banner

Secretary

Lauren was born in Singapore, the daughter of a diplomat. She earned a dual degree in

Media and Buddhist studies.

In the mid 70' she co-owned the Taos Tortilla Factory in Taos, a successful wholesale and retail operation near the Taos pueblo and later in the 80's owned New Alexandrian Bookstore in Ithaca NY which was known for specializing on the primary root texts of various world religions. She also spent many years as a member of the Handwork Co-coop in Ithaca NY as a gold and silversmith.

In the 90's Lauren became the director of Sera Je Support Committee which successfully funded breakfast for Tibetan refugees in India who resided at the Sera Je monastic University.

In early 2000's she became interested in local government in Carmel her hometown and was a board member of Carmel Residents Association which was dedicated to helping effect positive environmental changes in the community. She started and was the director of Lovers of Carmel Beach - an environmental group cleaning up the local shoreline.  She currently works with her producer husband on a variety of media projects and is a program director at Earthstream Media which is dedicated to environmental actions and social justice issues.

"Of all the things I have done my proudest achievement is being the mother of two strong independent girls, now women."