Two-Spirit: Gender Fluidity In Native American History

It’s a story we’re familiar with: A young boy and girl are placed before a box of toys, and they plow with a mindless vigor, selecting Barbies or G.I. Joes, tea sets or slingshots, plastic hammers or baby dolls that really pee. Some parents assume their boys will naturally select the guns, hammers and soldiers, while the girls will be more drawn toward the kitchenware. This is not the case with all children; some girls want to be G.I. Joe, while some boys want to be Barbie.

“Many Native American tribes, if they observed a boy playing with girls and learning feminine skills, they may have a ceremony to guide him in that direction,” said Alistair Bane, a Denver resident and descendent of the Shawnee Tribe.

Two-Spirit person