News & Events


June 23, 2016

Andrew Jolivette Publishes IHART Research

Jolivette_Indian Blood_photoAndrew Jolivette’s new book, Indian Blood: HIV and Colonial Trauma in San Francisco’s Two-Spirit Community, examines the correlation between mixed-race identity and HIV/AIDS among Native American gay men and transgendered people. Published in June 2016, the book grew from the research that Dr. Jolivette conducted as a Fellow with IWRI’s Indigenous HIV/AIDS Research Training (IHART) program. Based on surveys, focus groups and discussions with the former Native American AIDS Project, Jolivette aims to develop a cultural intervention model for HIV/AIDS risk among urban two-spirit Native Americans.

Indian Blood looks at the experience of gay Native Americans in San Francisco in a complex and nuanced fashion. The analysis offered in the book embraces the identification of two-spirit men and women, an identity that was once respected and valued in traditional Native cultures but devalued after European contact. As a result, social and cultural support was withdrawn from two spirit people (now frequently identified as LGBTQ), and discrimination followed making them vulnerable to high risk sexual behavior and HIV/AIDS.

One of the important contributions of this work is Jolivette’s discussion of the role that urban cultural centers play in the support and resiliency of Native Americans. Jolivette argues that Native American cultural centers offer a place of cultural leadership and mentorship, a place that supports resiliency and can help mitigate against risky behavior. The forms that leadership and mentorship take vary from city to city, shaped by the mix of cultures and people in the area. In all cases, however, mentoring is structured across generations, tribal membership, race, mixed HIV status, two-spirit and transgender identification.

JolivettePerhaps the biggest takeaway from Indian Blood is the model for intervention that Jolivette develops based on this observation about the function of urban Indian cultural centers. The model, named TUICKS: Traditional Urban Indian Cultural Knowledge Systems, can be applied and adapted anywhere to strengthen efforts to reduce HIV/AIDS risk. Dr. Jolivette explains that he was encouraged to develop an intervention at the urging of his IHART mentor, Nina Wallerstein, DrPH, MPH, Director of the Center for Participatory Research at the University of New Mexico.