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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 I was wondering if anyone has come across any historical references to anything that could fall under the two-spirit banner amongst the Lenape.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.
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.'
Thank you! Does it carry any kind of negative connotation, or is it a more neutral word?