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#1 Nov-04-2014 07:07:am

Sunken
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Registered: Oct-29-2014
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Historical references to two-spirits?

Hi!  I was wondering if anyone has come across any historical references to anything that could fall under the two-spirit banner amongst the Lenape.  I've read a piece on Weibe-town and "hunting women," but that's about it.  I'm also interested in the language that would be attached to the concept, and if the current-day Lenape have a word or words to describe what modern English would call "genderqueer" or "two-spirit." 

Thanks in advance.  big_smile

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#2 Nov-04-2014 07:59:am

sschkaak
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Registered: Sep-17-2007
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Re: Historical references to two-spirits?

I know of no primary sources that refer to a berdache tradition among the Lenape.  There is a kind of catch-all word in Lenape, "malxkwe," which carries several meanings:  hermaphrodite; bi-sexual male; homosexual male; transvestite; eunuch; etc.  It's etymology is mal- ("like") + "-xkwe ("woman")--i.e., 'like a woman' or 'ersatz woman.'

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#3 Nov-04-2014 08:04:am

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Registered: Oct-29-2014
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Re: Historical references to two-spirits?

Thank you!  Does it carry any kind of negative connotation, or is it a more neutral word?

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#4 Nov-04-2014 08:15:am

sschkaak
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Registered: Sep-17-2007
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Re: Historical references to two-spirits?

Historically, who knows?  Probably negative, since it has come to mean "a good-for-nothing man," today.

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