Diversity initiative office hosts event on two-spirit Native Americans
The Diversity Initiatives division of the Student Life office continued their efforts to educate our student body about Native Americans and their culturally diverse identity, with an event about gender and sexuality within the contemporary culture.
If you missed this event, it was hosted by Dr. Taifha Alexander, Shekinah Hampton and Jenesis Garcia on November 28. I considered the information shared that day to be very interesting and worth the share, so here’s a summary!
Two-Spirit people are believed to have both male and female spirit. It is a term used by some indigenous North Americans to describe certain people in their communities who fulfill a traditional third-gender ceremonial role in their culture.
Third gender is a concept in which individuals are categorized as neither man nor woman. The term two-spirit is only used by Native Americans and only refers to them as well, which means anyone that is not Native American cannot be considered as being two-spirited. Interestingly enough, not every tribe has historical examples of this. There are about 500 tribes and the belief is only in 155 of those.
Two-spirits are seen as the most intelligent and best person a tribe can offer and they had special responsibilities according to their spirit. For clarification, being two-spirited is not the same as being transgender. Two-Spirit is not interchangeable with the LGBTQ+ community. It is not a modern definition of sexuality or gender identity.
Two-spirit people are considered sacred and spiritual, and are recognized by a special ceremony as being chosen by their elders and ancestors. It is only appropriate for native people, and so if you do not have a tribe you cannot claim that role.
Before this event, I had personally never heard of two-spirit people before and I’m sure other students can relate. Thanks to the Student Diversity office, I’ve learned more about Native Americans than ever before and I encourage my peers to attend their events and do the same!