Reclaiming Two-Spirits: Sexuality, Spiritual Renewal & Sovereignty in Native America (HC)

SKU: 9780807003466

Gregory D. Smithers
Grade Levels:
Twelve, College, University
Book Type:
Beacon Press
Copyright Data:
Publication Date:
(Apr 26/22)

Sale price$39.95


Reclaiming Two Spirits by Gregory Smithers and with a foreword by Raven Heavy Runner, Blackfeet, decolonizes the history of gender and sexuality in Native North America. It honours the generations of Indigenous People who had the foresight to take essential aspects of their cultural life and spiritual beliefs underground in order to save them. This is a sweeping history of Indigenous traditions of gender, sexuality, and resistance that reveals how, despite centuries of colonialism, Two-Spirit people are reclaiming their place in Native nations.

Before 1492, hundreds of Indigenous communities across North America included people who identified as neither male nor female, but both. They went by ake’skassi, miati, okitcitakwe or one of hundreds of other tribally specific identities. With the arrival of European colonizers, centuries of violence and systematic persecution followed, imperiling the existence of people who today call themselves Two-Spirits, an umbrella term denoting feminine and masculine qualities in one person.

Drawing on written sources, archaeological evidence, art, and oral storytelling, Reclaiming Two-Spirits spans from the Spanish invasion to the present, tracing massacres and inquisitions and revealing how the authors of colonialism’s written archives used language to both denigrate and erase Two-Spirit people from history. But as Gregory Smithers shows, the colonizers failed. Reclaiming Two-Spirits amplifies their voices, reconnecting their history to Native nations in the 21st century.

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