dialog on Pride

02 – Two-Spirit History: The Diné and Nádleehi

Prior to European intervention, the Diné’s social structure recognized four gender identities: women, men, feminine Nádleehi, and masculine Nádleehi. Rather than being assigned at birth, Nádleehi children would often determine their own identity as they grew older, deciding how to best express themselves based on their interests. Nádleehi people were highly respected and often held high-ranking positions.

A modern blanket term used to describe such identities is “two-spirit.” Keep in mind that while commonly used, the term is not universally accepted by all indigenous peoples.

We’wha was a lhamana of the Zuni tribe who lived in the 1800s and spent several months in Washington D.C as an esteemed guest. (Source: The Smithsonian Institute.)