Who is Barbara May Cameron?

Barbara May Cameron, born on May 22, 1954, was a remarkable figure in the fight for equality and health awareness. Her legacy as a Hunkpapa Lakota activist and advocate for LGBTQIA+ inclusion and public health continues to inspire and educate.

This article delves into her life, achievements, and the impact she made during her time.

Who is Barbara May Cameron?

 Barbara May Cameron
 Barbara May Cameron

Barbara May Cameron, also known as Wia Washte Wi, was a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Fort Yates band. After completing her education, she pursued photography and film at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Her journey as an advocate and activist began when she relocated to San Francisco in 1973.

Achievements and Awards:

Barbara May Cameron’s impact was profound. She fearlessly advocated for LGBTQIA+ inclusion within the Native American community and addressed racism in queer spaces. Her dedication to enhancing human well-being led her to become the executive director of Community United Against Violence, where she supported victims of hate crimes and domestic abuse.

In recognition of her unwavering commitment, she was appointed to the Citizens Committee on Community Development and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission by the mayor of San Francisco in 1988. Her influence extended globally when she was appointed to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women by the next mayor.

Barbara’s involvement with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the American Indian AIDS Institute showcased her dedication to public health. She worked as a consultant for the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control, contributing to AIDS and childhood immunization programs.

Notable among her achievements are:

  • Co-founding the first gay American Indian liberation organization, Gay American Indians.
  • Leading the Lesbian Gay Freedom Day Parade and Celebration for five years (1980 to 1985).
  • Receiving the Harvey Milk Award for Community Service in 1992.
  • Being the inaugural recipient of the Bay Area Career Women Community Service Award.
  • Collaborating with the International Indigenous AIDS Network to engage in AIDS education, reaching various Indian reservations throughout the United States.
  • Founding the Institute on Native American Health and Wellness, with her first project focusing on publishing the works of Native American women writers.


Barbara May Cameron’s impact extended beyond her advocacy work. She shared a 21-year relationship with Linda Boyd and together raised a son, Rhys Boyd-Farrell. Tragically, on February 12, 2002, she passed away from natural causes at the age of 47.

Her unfinished screenplay, “Long Time, No See,” stands as a testament to her enduring creativity and passion.


Who was Barbara May Cameron?

Barbara May Cameron was a Hunkpapa Lakota activist and advocate for LGBTQIA+ inclusion, human rights, and public health.

How did Barbara May Cameron contribute to public health?

Barbara was involved with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the American Indian AIDS Institute, and the Institute on Native American Health and Wellness, focusing on AIDS and childhood immunization programs.

When did Barbara May Cameron pass away?

Barbara May Cameron passed away on February 12, 2002, at the age of 47 from natural causes.


Barbara May Cameron’s life was a testament to resilience, compassion, and unwavering dedication to equality and public health. Her pioneering efforts in advocating for LGBTQIA+ inclusion, addressing racism, and promoting public health continue to inspire and guide future generations.

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