• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

The concept of “two spirits” in Native American culture broadly encompasses all gender status behaviors including, but not limited to, sexual orientation, gender roles, and gender identity. The image of “two spirits” is a metaphor for male and female spirits inhabiting one person. Although the categories gender identity, gender roles, and sexual orientation provide an easy way to talk about these issues in today’s society, to traditional, precolonial Native Americans, these were false conceptualizations. Traditional Native Americans would never analyze human sexuality or gender in such dichotomous and categorical ways. In traditional Native American tribes, there was a continuum of human sexuality and gender behavior that was appropriate for different people, allowing them to fulfil roles that best suited their skills and interests. If a ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles