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This is the "Two Spirit" page of the "LGBTTQQI2SAA Topics" guide.
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An Undergraduate Library Subject Guide providing suggested resources and other information for beginning research on the topics of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, Two Spirit, asexual, and ally identities.
Last Updated: Jul 9, 2014 URL: http://uiuc.libguides.com/lgbtq Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Two Spirit Print Page

Terms for the topic

Two Spirit people
Queer Native people
Queer Indigenous people
Gay & lesbian American Indians


Topic Overview

Two Spirit (or Two-Spirit) is a specific term used at multiple levels: "to reference historical foundations of gender and sexual diversity in North American Indigenous societies, a contemporary interlinking of gender, sexuality, spirituality, and social roles, or a critique of heteropatriarchy in Native and non-Native communities."[1] Although often closely linked to "queer Native" or "queer Indigenous," Two Spirit is specifically a culturally situated identity and politics that contests colonial anthropological understandings of Indigenous gender and sexual diversity (and particularly the concept of berdache, a term used by anthropologists to describe Native queer people) and attempts by settler LGBTQ people to co-opt that diversity. As such, Two Spirit is not merely a fusion of "queer" and "Native," but an identity that is intended to shift the sovereignty to define Indigenous truth to Two Spirit people and the nations to which they belong and to decolonize conceptions of gender and sexuality that have been shaped in North American by settler colonial rule. This guide is intended to provide a guide centered on indigeneity to introduce Two Spirit critique, politics, and literature.

1. Qwo-Li Driskill, Chris Finely, Brian Joseph Gilley, and Scott Lauria Morgensen, "Introduction," Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics, and Literature, (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2011), 17.

Subject Guide

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