Thursday, May 03, 2012

Two Spirit

I've been exploring the spirituality behind the Two-spirit is an excellent description!

The Two Spirit tradition is primarily a question of gender, not sexual orientation. Sexual orientation describes the relationship a person of one gender has with another gendered person. Gender describes an individual’s expected role within a community.

 People of Two Spirit gender functioned as crafts-people, shamans, medicinegivers, mediators, and/or social workers. In many American Indian communities, men and women styles of speech were distinct; sometimes even different dialects were spoken. The Two Spirit people knew how to speak both in the men and women’s ways. They were the only ones allowed to go between the men’s and the women’s camps. They brokered marriages, divorces, settled arguments, and fostered open lines of communication between the sexes. Their proficiency in mediation often included their work as communicators between the seen (physical) and un-seen (spiritual) worlds. Many of the great visionaries, dreamers, shamans, or medicine givers were Two Spirit people. In some traditions, a war party could not be dispatched until their Two Spirit person consulted the spirits of the un-seen world and then gave their blessings. In the Lakota tradition, before any war party’s departure, the party preformed a dance with the Two Spirit person at the center of the circle to show their respect and honor. It is traditional to present gifts at gatherings to those who exemplify the “spirit” of the community or who have done the most for the community. Two Spirit people were respected and honored with gifts when they attended gatherings. They did not keep the gifts, but passed them on to spread the wealth. In this respect, Two Spirit people were similar to modern day social workers. When a family was not properly raising their children, the Two Spirit person would intervene and assume the responsibly as the primary caretaker. Sometimes, families would ask the Two Spirit person for help rearing their children. This unique role of social worker was specific to Two Spirit people, for they had an excess of material wealth as a result of the gifts they received.


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