The perspective of two-spirit Aboriginal people
Slutchuk, Rishona J.
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Historically, berdache were seen in a negative light in both Aboriginal and European cultures. Recentiy, the term two-spirit was chosen to identify these people thereby creating a positive spiritual path bridging the historical experience with the contemporary. In the modern sense, the term two-spirit has come to be seen as inclusive while allowing people to use the term in a way that fits their own personal ties. This thesis will illustrate a few of the ways the term two-spirit can be used. It will also examine the historical and contemporary importance of the term. It will focus primarily on contemporary two-spirit Aboriginal people's opinions and provide a closer look at how they choose to define and identify themselves. The journey that two-spirit people have taken to get where they are now will also be examined. Further, a closer look at their history and the reclaiming of their voice, as well as qualitative interviews with people who identify as two-spirited, will be presented. In the final analysis, there is much more to identifing oneself as two-spirited than just speaking the words. It is a process, a journey and, for some, a dream. Two-spirit Aboriginal people were chosen by their Creator to walk in both worlds - the physical and spiritual and they were chosen to mediate between men and women. Two-spirit is a positive word with a beautiful and harmonious balance that encompasses all people and it has a definite place within Aboriginal culture.