Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Social Innovation (M.A.)

Degree Program

School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Azfar Hussain

Second Advisor

Dr Dawn Ruteki

Third Advisor

Dr Raymond Higbea

Academic Year



Two-Spirit identifying individuals have significant challenges in today's world as they navigate

the resources at their disposal. Once highly revered within their tribal communities, these people

held important roles amongst their respective societies but now fight for services they used to

provide for their nations. The implementation of a patriarchal society along with religious

fundamental belief systems following the arrival of white settlers resulted in traditions, spiritual

practices, language, and identity were stolen from the Indigenous Peoples on what is known

known as North America. This work analyzes LGBTQ+ organizations nationwide and how they

serve Two-Spirit populations. With over 2000+ surveys formatted a distributed to willing

participants within the Great Lakes Bay Region of Michigan, and a review of the aggregated

data, steps were established to design a model that honors the sovereignty and continuing healing

of tribal nations while formatting programming to address the unique needs of Two-Spirit

peoples outside tribally led organizations. Findings concluded that a model to assist rather than

to dictate was the best approach for communities that have suffered greatly as a result of

outsiders attempting to come in and “fix” an established problem. The design model is comprised

of a variety of tactics that can uplift already existing programming and taking a back seat to the

creation of new.

Available for download on Saturday, December 14, 2024