One of Sitting Bull’s five wives was a "two-spirit“ man. Virtually all American Indian tribes had a tradition of "two-spirits,“ homosexual males assuming the roles of women, and women assuming the roles of men, in work, sex, and social functions. Indians revered the two-spirit, typically an effeminate man or masculine woman who did not fit into standard gender roles. Two-spirits were treated as sacred and held ceremonial roles as psychic healers, medicine men, prophets, and shamans.
European settlers repressed the tradition and it went underground, reemerging after the rebirth of Indian culture and the rise of gay liberation in the 1970s.
Stern, Keith. Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals. Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.
Two Spirits: A Story of Life With the Navajo by Walter L. Williams and Toby Johnson
Paperback: 332 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (June 12, 2005)
Amazon: Two Spirits: A Story of Life With the Navajo
Twenty years after publishing his groundbreaking The Spirit and the Flesh, anthropologist Walter L. Williams breaks his silence and publishes another book on Native Americans by teaming up with award-winning writer Toby Johnson. Together they have produced a work of historical fiction that is striking in its evocation of Navajo philosophy and spirituality.
Set in the Civil War era of the 1860s, this novel tells the story of a feckless Virginian who finds himself captivated by a Two-Spirit male highly respected among the Navajo. It is a story of tragedy, oppression, and discrimination, but also an enlightening story of love, discovery, and beauty.
Two Spirits illuminates the truth of what the United States did to the largest indigenous people of this nation. Full of suspense, plot twists, and endearing romance, this novel will captivate readers.
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