This was not until the Europeans captured North America, that the natives adopted the ideas of gender roles. For Native Americans, there were no rules that men and women should follow to be considered a normal member of their tribe.
In fact, people who had both female and male characteristics were perceived as gifted by nature and, therefore, could see both sides of everything. According to Indian Country Today, all indigenous communities recognized the following gender roles: Female, Male, Female Two Spirits, Male Two Spirits and Transgender.
Each tribe has its own special term, but there is a need for a universal concept that the general population can understand. The Navajo refers to the Two Spirits as Nagylehi (the one who transforms), among the Lakotas there is Vinket (an indicator of a male individual who forces himself to behave like a woman), Niidj Manidovag (two spirits) in Ojibwe, Heman (half human, Half woman) in Cheyenne to name a few. Since the goal of “Two Spirits” should be used as a universal term in English, it can not always be translated with the same meaning in native languages. For example, in the language of Iroquois Cherokee there is no way to translate this term, but the Cherokees have terms for gender differences for women who feel like men and vice versa.
The culture of the two Native American spirits was one of the first things that the Europeans worked to destroy and cover. According to people like the American artist George Catlin, the tradition of “Two Spirits” had to be eradicated before she could enter the history books. Kathleen said the tradition:
.. Must be extinguished before it is written more fully.
However, only white Europeans tried to hide any traces of native gender bending. According to the Indian country today, Spanish Catholic monks have destroyed most of the Aztec codes to eradicate traditional beliefs and history, including those that spoke of the tradition of the two spirits. Throughout these efforts, Christians, Native Americans were forced to dress and act in accordance with the newly appointed gender roles.
One of the most famous two spirits in the history of history was a Lakota warrior, accurately called “Finds them and kills them.” Osh-Tish was born a man and married a woman, but decorated himself with women’s clothes and lived everyday life as a woman. June 17, 1876 “Finds them and kills them” when he saved his fellow tribesman during the battle of Rozbud Creek. Act of fearless courage. Below is a picture of Osh-Tisha and his wife.
Osh-Tish (left) and his wife (right)
In Native American cultures, people were valued for their contribution to the tribe, not for masculinity or femininity. Parents also did not assign gender roles to children, and even children’s clothing, as a rule, was neutral on the basis of gender. There were no ideas or ideals about how a person should love; It was just a natural act, which occurred without judgment or hesitation.
Without the negative stigma associated with being the Two Spirit, there were no internal tribal incidents of retaliation or violence against the elected people simply because individuals were identified as opposite or both sexes.
Two people of the Spirit in pre-contact Indian America were very revered, and the families in which they were were considered happy. The Indians believed that a man who could see the world through the eyes of both sexes at the same time was a gift from the Creator.
Religious influence soon led to serious prejudices about gender diversity, and so it forced once openly alternative orrogynous people to choose one of two options. They could either live in shelter, or in fear of being discovered, or they could commit suicide. Many of them did just that.