Indigenous Two Spirit/trans genocide in boarding schools
Ghosts of children haunt North American history
After the Indian Wars effectively ended in the late 19th century, Native children who dared speak the languages first heard across this land were severely reprimanded and beaten in the boarding schools they were forced to attend far away from their homelands.
“Kill the Indian, save the man,” a phrase coined by Richard Henry Pratt of the infamous Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, became a de facto motto for all boarding schools as tribal children were taught to be ashamed of who they were and where they came from.
“Let all that is Indian within you die!” said Rev. J.A. Lippincott at a Carlisle commencement address. Students were told they could never become “truly American … until the Indian within you is dead.”
A prime example being a Navajo Naadleehi (translated as 'one who transforms' into female).
Naadleehi were highly respected within their tribe, and so the proud parents (naively) sent her to Carlisle dressed in normal female clothes.
They kids new the child was Naadleehi, but quickly realized her identity was dangerous and closely guarded her 'secret.’
I oft think how crazy that must've been, being taught 24-7 to hate everything about your culture, language, traditions; and here you have this living act of defiance amongst the children in the form of their Naadleehi classmate.🥲
One day there was a lice outbreak, and every child got scrubbed down. The Naadleehi girl was discovered to be biologically male.
Her cousin told the story decades later, still severely traumatized how they made a big scene when this was discovered.
They took the child, "And she never returned again. They would not tell us what happened, and we never saw them again!" she said, still visibly pained. "We were very sad that our cousin was gone."
They ‘disappeared’ the child as an example, putting fear into all of them.
And such indoctrination went until they made pariahs of Two Spirits within many tribal communities.
One thing Natives never talk about is how effective colonization was to many elders who lived through such ordeals, as words which once commanded respect like winkté (Lakota) & badé (Crow) turned into slurs.
Words via Linda Rodriguez
The late researcher, Dr. Paula Gunn Allen, (Laguna Pueblo) called rejection of LGBTQ2S within tribes due to outside "western" Judeo-Christian pressures "psychological colonization" as we are so important to our traditions and even creation stories.
Gunn said, "If you hate the traditions, you hate part of yourself as Indian. If you hate yourself, that weakens your resolve to oppose white colonization. If we could stop Indian (LGBTQ2s)-phobia, other aspects of cultural revival can occur.
"We must recolonize ourselves. The issue of self-determination for Indian people means acceptance of (Two Spirits) and is central to accepting ourselves as Indian."