The International Indigenous Working Group on HIV & AIDS (IIWGHA) has named Harlan Pruden as its new American representative.
Pruden, a member of the Cree Nation from the Saddle Lake Indian Reservation in Northeasten Alberta, Canada, co-founded the Northeast 2 Sprit Society (NE2SS) in summer 2004 with Melissa Hoskins, Cherokee, and Kevin Van Wanseele, Kumeyaay. NE2SS works to increase the visibility of the two-spirit community in New York City and the surrounding tri-state area.
In his new post with IIWGHA, Pruden will “work to ensure our community is not only represented, but that this country's Two-Spirit and Native organizations working to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS are briefed and kept up-to-date of all the work of IIWGHA.”
IWGHA serves as an international voice linking Indigenous peoples with their leadership, varying levels of governments, AIDS service organizations, cooperatives, and others. The group’s mission is to lower the disproportionate impact of HIV and AIDS experienced by Indigenous peoples. For more information on IIWGHA visit: http://www.iiwgha.org.
Pruden added that he is “committed to seeking community guidance and input on decisions effecting, impacting and involving the Two-Spirit and Native community.”
“In the United States, it is the male-bodied Two-Spirit community that is bearing the brunt of the HIV/AIDS crisis among Native American and Alaskan Native population,” said Sharon Day, the executive director of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force and long-time AIDS activist. “I am pleased with IIWGHA decision of the appointment a Two-Spirit leader to International body. Harlan will do a great job ensuring that the Two-Spirit community is represented and finally some attention to this often overlooked and marginalized community.