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Native Americans Acknowledged 5 Genders Before Being Influenced By Europeans

Native Americans valued people for their contributions to the tribe – not for their masculinity or femininity.

Before Europeans took over North America, Native Americans didn’t have strict gender roles. There were no set gender norms for tribe members to follow in order to be accepted in the community, and showing both feminine and masculine traits were not frowned upon.

In fact, Native Americans considered people with both male and female characteristics as gifts by nature able to view both sides of everything. Native Americans had the following genders: male, female, Two Spirit female, Two Spirit male, and transgendered.

Native Americans did not enforce strict genders roles in their tribes.

In Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1989, LGBT Native Americans wanting to be identified in their tribes officially adopted the term “Two Spirit” from the Ojibwe language. Tribes still keep their own terms, but there was a need to have a universal term that the general public could understand.

For example, the Navajo refer to Two Spirits as Nádleehí (one who is transformed), among the Lakota is Winkté (refers to a male who has a compulsion to behave as a female), Niizh Manidoowag (two spirit) in Ojibwe, and Hemaneh (half man, half woman) in Cheyenne.

The Europeans did not agree with the Native Americans’ Two Spirit culture.

One of the most famous Two Spirits was a Lakota warrior named Osh-Tisch, also known as “Finds Them And Kills Them.” Osh-Tisch was born male and married a female, but he dressed as a woman and lived his daily life like a woman.

The Europeans’ prejudice against native gender bending forced Native Americans to dress and act according to newly-designated gender roles.

During their venture into the New World, the Jesuits and French and British explorers told of stories of Native American men who had “given to sin,” as well as “hunting women” who had wives. This prejudice also inspired Catholic monks to destroy most of the Aztec codices, with the aim of eradicating traditional native beliefs and history – including the Two Spirit tradition.


Religious influences by Europeans brought serious threat to the gender diversity of Native American tribes. Openly alternative or androgynous people were given two choices: either live in hiding or end their lives, and many chose the latter.

Euro-American marriage laws also invalidated same-gender marriages, which were common among tribes across North America.

The Native American culture had a revival in the 1960s. Red Power movements brought the Two Spirit tradition back to the spotlight and has since inspired the wider acceptance of and pride in gender variance within tribal communities.

To quote the late Lakota actor, Native rights activist, and American Indian Movement co-founder Russell Means:

“In my culture, we have people who dress half-man, half-woman. Winkte, we call them in our language. If you are Winkte, that is an honorable term, and you are a special human being. and among my nation and all Plains people, we consider you a teacher of our children and are proud of what and who you are.”

Source: Indian Country Media Network

History

World’s Largest Freshwater Pearl Formerly Owned by Catherine the Great Sold At $374,000

The Sleeping Lion was one of the famed empress’ prized jewels.

A freshwater pearl once owned by Catherine the Great was sold for an astounding $374,000 on May 31, 2018. The auction was done by the Amsterdam Pearl Society and was held at The Hague.

Considered as the world's largest pearl, the "Sleeping Lion" (noting its unusual shape) weighs 5.4 ounces and is 2.75 inches in length. According to the Venduehuis auction house catalogue, it was sold below its estimated value, which was was between $397,000 and $630,000.

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History

Why Is Iceland Green and Why Is Greenland Icy?

This is why I have trust issues…

Countries have interesting origin stories about how they get their names. Generally speaking, country names are either based on the land’s features, a tribe, a person, or even a directional description.

Bahrain, for example, literally means “Two Seas” while United States of America was named after Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. On the other hand, Norway, as its name implies, means “The Way North” or “The Northern Way” while Mauritania is based on the Mauris, the country’s largest ethnic group.

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History

Why Sin Eating Was Once The Worst Job In The World

Technically, it was a thankless job.

If you think you are unfortunate for having to hold on to a job that you think sucks, bear in mind that at one point in history, there were people who went the extent of risking their salvation just for money. For the so-called Sin Eaters then, it did not matter if they had to suffer eternal damnation in hell for as long they could eat and have some coins in their pockets.

While a Sin Eater is already a thing of the past, there is no questioning that it held the notion as being the worst job in England, Scotland, and Wales where it was practiced from the Middle Ages until the early 1900s. You see, a Sin Eater had to eat a piece of bread placed on the chest of a dying person, otherwise known as a sin-soaked bread, while the family of the would-be departing person watched, prayed, and drank a flagon of ale.

By eating the sin-soaked bread, it was believed then that a Sin Eater could absolve the dying person from his sins, and his chances of entering heaven would improve.

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