The 'two-spirit' people of indigenous North Americans
Native Americans have often held intersex, androgynous people, feminine males and masculine females in high respect. The most common term to define such persons today is to refer to them as "two-spirit" people, but in the past feminine males were sometimes referred to as "berdache" by early French explorers in North America, who adapted a Persian word "bardaj", meaning an intimate male friend. Because these androgynous males were commonly married to a masculine man, or had sex with men, and the masculine females had feminine women as wives, the term berdache had a clear homosexual connotation. Both the Spanish settlers in Latin America and the English colonists in North America condemned them as "sodomites".Ancient tattoos linked to healing ritual
Mysterious circle tattoos on a Peruvian mummy have been identified as containing burned plant material. The finding sheds light on a possible ancient healing practice that may have been based on similar principles to acupuncture.
The 1000-year-old female mummy was found unwrapped in the sand of the desert at Chiribaya Alta in southern Peru in the early 1990s. She bears two distinct types of tattoos: emblems representing birds, apes, reptiles and other symbols cover her hands, arm and lower left leg, while an asymmetric pattern of overlapping circles is present on her neck.
It’s late on a Sunday morning, and the small apartment of the Chang family in Merced is crowded with relatives preparing food for a special Hmong ceremony.
They’ve invited a traditional Hmong healer to perform a ritual that will protect the health of Joua Chang. The 22-year-old is pregnant with her third child.
Mother Earth Lodges, journeys of the spirit and the interpretation of dreams and visions: it is an exotic mix.
You may not expect to find a missionary promoting the beliefs of American Indians in the East Midlands.
Not that the terms American Indian or Native American find favour with Wa Na Nee Chee.
The watchers are there as giant earth movers scrape and dig their way through the landscape of U.S. Highway 18 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Working alongside the construction company as it grades and preps the route between Oglala and Pine Ridge for a new highway are six representatives of the Oglala Sioux Tribe's historic preservation office. They monitor the digging and excavation for any hint that the work will unearth something of historical significance.