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Living Two-Spirit?

Guest Nawat

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On 2/18/2011 at 10:52 PM, Guest Nawat said:

I was wondering if anyone has been actively trying to live what is suggested by the English translation, "Two Spirit"? Is there a way you have found to balance the male and female spirits and be happy? I'm new and still exploring the forums, but there is so much talk about transitioning it seems that no one wants to live in the body they have and use their two genders together... Is that because the only reason I think it might be possible because I haven't spent enough time thinking about who I am and how I want to live my life? Or is it possible to live both?

The simple answer is yes, but you have to have the strength to chose which bathroom you are going to use. Otherwise, the four rights .apply: the right to self a determination, the right to self-awareness, the right to self-advocacy, and the right to self-care. These are your rights as a person.

Still don't forget the three responsibilities. Visibility, accountability, and authenticity are your promises to the world. People will only believe if you don't violate those rules because they have to obey the former rules themselves.

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I find this interesting in many ways as very few, if any, people can say, genetically,  they are racially pure to one particular race and culture and it is becoming very aparent these days that people are similarly somewhere on the gender spectrum, not 100% male or female.

From this my simplified suggestion is that maybe someone who is 'two spirit' is in actuality 'multi spirited' - relaxed and at one with people and life!


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On March 12, 2017 at 8:35 AM, Squallsong said:


Many tribes were matrilineal (men joined their wife's "tribe") and many European men had Native wives (which began Metis culture).  Some of your verbal histories may help uncover this.


Indeed! The Cherokee were Matrilineal. It is though a grandmother from whom my ancestry came.  But in speaking with a relative this weekend, I think I might have uncovered the disconnect. I will dig deeper. 

I agree with pretty much all you've said here. And I am who I am. 


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  • 8 months later...

          The first time I heard this term was when during a Cherokee new years ceremony I told the shaman and his wife I was Trans-gender. It was a great moment fore they immediately smiled and said you feel with two spirits. Now, I will admit I was a little perplexed at first having been raised in a christian environment and all. Where we are taught about the one spirit we have. The concept was truly alien to me.

           They sat me down and explained that the was that I feel the side that was born male as well as the side(the greater side) that called for the woman in me. He said it also explained the balance of me being able to bounce between fantasy and reality, felt great night or day, and God and Goddess. They said I sat at the precipice of two worlds as it were.I kinda liked that and I was more able to reconcile the feelings I was having.

             I love night and day, wolves and dragons  etc.. I am now able to draw on that feeling and manifest it into a more positive me. It has made a tremendous difference in my life.


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  • 11 months later...

I very much live this life and it is quite possible. I work with people less than understanding, so when I come home my transition is complete. Not perfect but I am content. I did HRT for a while and will be moving back to it on a low dose soon enough, so I have feminine shape and to me that makes me content at home. :)

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  • 10 months later...

Sadly, we (this community) don’t often reply quickly to topics or dialogues, and when we do, those with whom we were conversing may no longer be around.  I. This conversation, I had been addressing @TeamEffort, but it appears they last visited here March of 2017.  


I have given much much thought lately to what is being termed ‘cultural appropriation’ (CA) and the idea of ‘two spirit’.


As I’ve mentioned, most of my life I’ve believed I’ve had Cherokee ancestry. The stories were handed down to me and when I was young I tirelessly studied the Cherokee Nation, beginning when I first read “Burt My Heart at Wounded Knee”. I learned much and began attending powwows and other Native American events; enthralled with the histories and cultures of the Indigenous Nations of the Eastern US.  


Later in life my fascination for my Celtic heritage also thrived and blossomed into a full blown genealogy research/study, including the DNA testing mentioned earlier.  I was initially shocked to find out that my DNA yielded no connection with the Native Americans.  And though it did not initially dawn on me, there existed two major reasons for this. First, and this was the rabbit hole I first descended, there must be a disconnect in the oral stories handed down to me.  My further research revealed that this is the most likely scenario; that one of my great grandmothers, the one who raised my blood relatives, was not actually my great grandmother by blood, but rather she raised the children. Her husband was actually the brother of my great grandfather. But my family always believed her to be my legitimate great grandmother. 


The second possibility, and what I want to share here, is that it is possible to have a particular ethnicity without having that ethnicity’s DNA. We each receive 50% of our DNA from our mother and 50% from our father, which means we each may not inherit DNA coding from ancestry that does exist in our familial lines. This intrigues me because it opens a world of possibilities.  In our modern western world, in reality, most of us have mixed ethnic lineage.  There is so much cross cultural ethnicity in the US, that I believe it would be impossible for most to truly have pure ethnic lines.  I think we each have predominant lines and those are typically what we focus on. But it doesn’t preclude other heritage.  My DNA is predominately of north Western Europe (British Isles, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France and Nordic), But it also reveals a small percentage of DNA from east Africa, consistent with the peoples of the Bantu migration. Which leads me to another line I’d absolutely love to follow, but have not yet found any written or oral traditions. I will keep researching.


So how does this relate to cultural appropriation.  I attend multiple Celtic and European Renaissance events annually.  I’ve witnessed many African Americans wearing kilts and other traditional wear of the British Isles. Is this wrong? Are they appropriating a cultural heritage that isn’t theirs? If I were to show up at an African Cultural event wearing traditional Shona or Zulu attire, would this be wrong? Would it be offensive to those around because I ‘look’ different than they?  Well, personally I think the answer would be s little more complicated than a simple yes or no. I think it would rely more of the intent. It I knew, studied, took pride in and desired to connect more with my African heritage, I’d say there was nothing wrong with it, that I wasn’t committing CA. But those of more visibly obvious African Heritage might take offense until they learned more about me, or might white skin may be enough for others to not care and claim I was committing an offense anyway.  So then, you have to choose personally what is prudent and what your own deep convictions call you to.  In my prior example of non white kilt wearers, I personally think it’s awesome. They, like me, probably have some interesting heritage, written, verbal or DNA, that I think would make excellent conversation.


And I also find it personally cool complimentary when someone traditionally ‘outside’ my cultural heritage takes interest in and desires to be part of it. 


Now, bringing it back to the idea of Two-Spirit. The traditional understanding of the Native Americans of the spiritual and cultural beliefs regarding transgendered people is unique to their cultures and definitely a vital part of the pre-European histories. And I don’t think anyone can take that from them.  But embracing the philosophy of two-spirit, whether by ethnic relation or by intellectual or spiritual connection to the ideology, should be a personal journey and celebrated by those who seek to keep the cultural heritage alive.  The Nations of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas often adopted European ideas, tools and people into their cultures. The Great Plains buffalo hunting tribes fared greater once they appropriated  rifles. And many white children grew up in differing tribes becoming as much ‘Native American’ as their red brothers and sisters. 


So I smoke the peace pipe. I learn the ways of the Eastern Woodlands, the ways those here before me knew. And I take pride in a heritage that may not be mine by blood, but is mine by history and by spirit. And I recognize the two-spirit nature of Jennifer and T. 



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5 hours ago, Jennifer T said:

Sadly, we (this community) don’t often reply quickly to topics or dialogues, and when we do, those with whom we were conversing may no longer be around.  I. This conversation, I had been addressing @TeamEffort, but it appears they last visited here March of 2017.


Unfortunately, people come and go from this (and other forums) for reasons we never know.  Some try us for a while and may not think its for them, get bored, or are off to the next thing.   I had asked this question among the moderators a couple years ago.  It seems to be a recurring issue.  


@Jennifer T Sometimes the thread is so focused such that it is not of interest to many others, or people are unsure how to respond.  I think we serve the people who want to be part of an online group and find it beneficial.  I've stayed because I appreciate the support I received when I started my journey and I want to give back as I can.  Were all have our reasons for being here. 



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2 hours ago, Jani said:


Unfortunately, people come and go from this (and other forums) for reasons we never know.  Some try us for a while and may not think its for them, get bored, or are off to the next thing.   I had asked this question among the moderators a couple years ago.  It seems to be a recurring issue.  


@Jennifer T Sometimes the thread is so focused such that it is not of interest to many others, or people are unsure how to respond.  I think we serve the people who want to be part of an online group and find it beneficial.  I've stayed because I appreciate the support I received when I started my journey and I want to give back as I can.  Were all have our reasons for being here. 



@Jani, my comments weren’t really intended to be a criticism of the Forum, but more of a critique of myself.  It’s been over 2 years since I responded to this topic and I recall when teameffort was agonizing over this issue. 


Yes, we all come and go for reasons of our own. And I sometimes believe this whole transgender thing, which many of us spend a lifetime of effort keeping hidden, predisposes is to wariness in venues like this where we open up. It’s easy to want to run.


My apologies for any insult. 

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I understand but what you wrote is true.  People do come and go.  There was no insult as I saw it. ?



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  • 6 months later...

I really enjoyed this thread and am reading it over again.  I embrace the two spirit concept and agree with the need for balance.

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