From northeast Alberta, Canada, Harlan Pruden.[1] is a proud member of the Cree Nation. Mr. Pruden grew up on the Beaver Lake First Nation; however; is a member of the Saddle Lake Indian Reservation in Alberta and moved to New York City in May 1995. He came out as gay at age 17. After committing himself to sobriety almost 24 years ago, Harlan became the first person in his family to attend College. Harlan now devotes his life to First Nations community organizing and progressive causes. In addition to serving on the board of for the American Indian Community House’s Board, he co-founded the NorthEast Two-Spirit Society (NE2SS), where he devotes much time and energy to revitalizing traditional cultural values, culture and ceremonies for two-spirit urban Native Peoples. He also is a co-chair of the National Native HIV/AIDS Coalition, one of the first national efforts within the HIV/AIDS field to include all of the two-spirit organizations and groups in the United States. In 2011, Harlan has been instrumental in helping the Chicago-Based Legacy Project whose outdoor LGBT History installation ("The Legacy Walk") will include a bronze plaque co-written by Harlan to commemorate the lives, gifts, and sacrifices of Two Spirit People [1] (See Commemorative Two Spirit Plaque)] in their struggle for acknowledgment and respect within the larger LGBT community.

Harlan’s talents have also led to his contribution to SpeakOUT: LGBT Voices for Recovery, a program of the LGBT community center in NYC. As the project’s Coordinator he oversaw a national program designed to increase awareness of the issues that confront LGBT people struggling to recover from alcohol and substance abuse.

Harlan is an experienced political activist and has worked on many political campaigns including; Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate race. He has also served as Chief of Staff for Craig M. Johnson, state legislator when he was in the Nassau County Legislature.

Currently, Harlan is is the Assistant Director of Special Projects at the Empire State Development Corporation, a New York State Agency. Within his current position, he works to ensure that minority and women owned business enterprises have contracting opportunities with the State of New York. In April 2011, Harlan was appointed to Manhattan Community Board 12 and was recently appointed as Chair of Parks & Cultural Affairs. He makes his home in Manhattan with his partner, Stephen.


  1. "Going Far From Home to Feel at Home", New York Times, July 17, 2007.

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