Asa Wright

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Asa Wright
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CitizenshipUnited States of America
  • Bachelor's degree in public health
  • Master's Degree in Collaborative design
Alma mater
  • Portland State University
  • Pacific Northwest College of Art
OccupationTribal member

Asa Wright is a Klamath/Modoc Tribal member.[1]. He identifies as Two-spirit since it encompasses more of his identity than queer or gay [2]. He realized that he was Two-Spirit when he was 5, though coming out at the age of 15 as gay initially. Any labels did not fit until he learned of Two-Spirit in 2003. "I identify as Two-Spirit as I feel it fits better than any other description; it feels right and comfortable to me. It identifies me more as a whole person. I don't really use any other words to describe my sexuality. I have used gay and queer but don't feel like that really fits."

Wright attended Portland State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in public health. He then went on to earn his master's Degree in Collaborative design at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. He started college at 17 though he failed his first term and felt little support on campus, he was able to earn his degree as a 1st generation graduate[3].

Wright founded the Portland Two-Spirit Society(PTSS)in 2004. It started with about 20 people, joining the 32 Two-Spirit societies across the US and Canada[4]. The PTSS is a community where native Two-spirit people from the pacific northwest and Alaska can gather and share stories, create community, and restore traditions of two-spirit people[5]. He has worked on and off in suicide prevention and health promotion for 10-12 years. In 2016, he helped organize the art for action tent at the Indigenous People Power Project in Cannon Ball, North Dakota[6] as a part of the Standing Rock protest. Wright is now the coordinator of the Indigenous Peoples Power Project.[7]

Wright helped create the Tribal Toolkit in 2013, credited as one of the designers of the 150+ page document[8]. He was also awarded "Queer Hero" in 2013 by the Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest and in 2015 received PQ Monthly's Brilliant Award for all the work he has done in the Queer community. In 2016, he was grand marshall alongside Candi Brings Plenty for the Portland pride parade. He also helped with the 2020 census, working with "Art For Action" to encourage native folx to complete the census so as to ensure federal funding for their tribes[9]

Wright is also a working artist. Even though he previously worked in public health, he has fully transitioned to creating art that is politically and culturally provocative. He does a lot of graphic design and working as a creative arts trainer with organizations like Greenpeace[10] and Rogue Climate[11]. He uses his artwork to influence positive social change and decolonization. He describes art as being a way of life, stating that "I need it to live, it feeds me, it's an outlet, it's healing." Wright's next endeavor includes starting Saa'Maqs Studio[12], a studio space for Indigenous artists and makers in the Pacific Northwest. Saa'Maqs will be a physical space inspired by the art tent at Standing Rock and will include art mentorship, community classes, and eventually a residency program.


  1. Wright, Asa. "About". Mighty Modoc. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  2. Rooke, Erin (September 2012). "Portland Two Spirit Society: Finding family and a connection to history in shared identities". Proud Queer Monthly. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  3. "Stew for Thought - Asa Wright". KB00 Radio (Podcast). KB00 Radio. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  4. Parks, Casey (Jun 18, 2016). "In Orlando's shadow, Native American Two-Spirit group brings light to Pride". The Oregonian. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  5. "Portland Two-Spirit Society". Facebook. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  6. Mullen, Anna (December 2016). "Room For Craft". Hopper Mag. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  7. "Who We Are". Indigenous Peoples Power Project. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  8. "Two Spirit/LGBT Individuals Face Negative Outcomes in Tribal Communities, Report Finds". Arcus Foundation. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  9. admin (Mar 18, 2020). "Tribal Spotlight: Asa Wright (2020 Census Artwork)". Klamath Tribes. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  10. "Greenpeace USA". Greenpeace USA. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  11. "Tribal Nations". Rogue Climate. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  12. "Saa'Maqs Studio". Saa'Maqs Studio. Retrieved March 2, 2021.

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