Whe-Wa of Zuni

Dear all Medicine People from the 4 directions,

I do not care how old you are, I do not care what spiritual tradition or tribe you come from, I do not care if you are a sundancer, I do not care if you are full blooded, if you are Mexica, Orisha, or First Nation. None of that excuses you from spreading stories and ideas that degrade women and erase the histories of two spirit people.

I will no longer stand to hear stories in which women are portrayed as less than or subservient to a men being passed off as traditional stories. These are lies, women have always either been equal to men or seen as more worthy of leadership than men because they know how to bring life into the world, they know how to keep peace, and they know how to tell men that battles and war are sometimes necessary but there comes a point when weapons need to be laid to rest.

I will no longer accept traditional stories about polyamory being skewed in order to justify men sleeping around with as many women as they want. If you want to go that route, of course our traditions and our histories are rich with examples of both men AND women taking on multiple partners. But these men were responsible to provide for each of these women, everyone knew about it, all families were in agreement, and if you weren’t respecting your partners someone would say something. It was not about having sex with multiple partners, it was about being worthy enough to take on a large responsibility.

I will no longer accept traditional stories about sexual freedom from our history being skewed to justify rape and violence towards women. If you want to go that route, of course it is traditional to value open exploration of our sexuality. But we were always taught to do this in the most RESPECTFUL manner. That meant ensuring that there was consent, that each person shared responsibility in giving and creating pleasure for the other person, this meant honoring the sacredness of sex. But what we have now is a sad situation where most men believe that sex is about asserting power over women and relying on women to fulfill all of their sexual fantasies. This is not traditional, nor even respectful in a simple basic way. Sex is about sharing power, sharing trust, sharing passion, sharing spirit. It is agreeing to mutually share each others bodies with the UTMOST respect. And yet we wonder why there is so much sexual violence within our communities.

I will also no longer accept medicine people who claim that two spirit people “did not exist” in their tradition. These are flat out lies. We ALWAYS existed, and will always exist on every corner of this planet and we are important. Each person was given a specific gender and sexuality from the creator and maybe at certain times there were less or more, but we will always here in every tribe in diverse and creative ways. If you are saying that we didn’t exist you are wrong. Simply put, we were always here and you have forgotten.

And most of all, if you are a medicine person and you are going to say that yes two spirit people did exist “but we don’t have that many stories about them” or that those stories were “lost” then I fully expect that you will pray to your spirit guides, you ancestors, or use whatever medicine ways that you have been instructed in to bring our stories back. I want to hear that you are doing everything in your power to receive any visions or stories that have been lost about two spirit people. All stories that ever happened can always be brought back, and unless we ask for them to return, unless we demand them to return, they will continue to be “lost”. Two spirit medicine will come back to this earth. It will come back fully, it will come back honestly, and it will come back to heal wounds and ties that have been broken. That is not negotiable, that is not a choice, that is not an option. It is a necessary.

And furthermore, I am sorry that I cannot make this pretty, but all of these lies have come at a great cost. They have lead to the violation of women’s bodies, they have lead to low self esteem, they have lead to suicide, they have lead to broken hearts, they have lead to pain, they have lead to suffering, they have lead to innocent people who don’t know their stories or traditions into being brainwashed into believing that they are not valuable, they have lead to people hating themselves for being who they are. There is no excuse for this behaviour. Simply put it must stop and I for one will not stand for it. Yes colonization has also lead to destruction, but we are also responsible for the destruction we have brought on ourselves. We cannot point and play the blame game on white people for this. Yes they may have caused us to internalize these ideas, they may have even forced us to internalize these ideas in many circumstances, but we can no longer be the perpetrators. We must take responsibility to be the healers, to be the freedom seekers, to be repair the damage that has been done.

And if you disagree with anything that I have said, then please I DARE YOU. Come at me with your hate, come at me with your curses, come at me with whatever you want. I AM NOT AFRAID.  I will not listen to any arguments that contradict my statements,nor will I give them power. Giving women and two spirit people the equal standing in our communities that we deserve is long overdue. The spirits are waiting.





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  1. Eaton

    Beautiful. So well said.

  2. Georgina Walker

    sad that it is ‘anonymous.’ i would be proud to say such words.

    • I have said this and stand up for this against ” Big Medicine People” , not anonymous and they tried to scare and belittle me … So Irespect that the writer didn´t take the shit flying in her/His direction . Sometimes we are scared … and that is okay as well.

  3. Michael Red Shirt

    As a person who humbly met and travels the responsibilities of the Red Road and the way of the Sacred Pipe, who has danced and prayed at the Sacred Tree and met those who came to assist me over these many decades, who has the honor to be the caretaker of an Oyate Cannumpa, whose grandmother passed to him the importance and gift of the Storyteller so that the teachings may live, I respect, honor and support this powerful statement. You have said the words. Now it is up to those that have the ears to hear , the eyes to see and the heart to do for all the people, to follow the only medicine path, the one of integrity, respect and compassion.

  4. Cyndy Maracle

    AGREE! Thank U for ur honesty!

  5. tara

    exellent!!!! our elders have passed down the teachings that two spirits were considered gifted by the people as they had the gift of feeling and being both sexes, many went for advice and direction as they could feel both sides…

  6. Nyla

    Thank you! I fully support you and stand by your words for I agree with them completely.

  7. Good letter but why would you speak out and not put your name at the end… Reminds me of a sniper who shoots then runs away. But in your case you’re cowardly attacking some culture’s traditions. Some things are set in stone for woman, they aren’t allowed to touch the Grandfather Drum but are you gonna complain about that too? Good letter none the less.

    • I have said this and stand up for this against ” Big Medicine People” , not anonymous and they tried to scare and belittle me … So Irespect that the writer didn´t take the shit flying in her/His direction . Sometimes we are scared … and that is okay as well.
      Whatsoever , this is a worthwhile and important message , as I have seen many women hook up with teachings and conduct that is not “spiritual” but only abusing…in the disguise of spirituality …

    • sikak iskwew

      nothing is set in stone….thats the white man’s way: to be rigid and dictatorial; even their teachings tell them to be that way with their rules being, literally, set in stone tablets. ndgns people were not dictators and were not rigid. dont make the same mistake of applying western hierarchies to indigenous social structures.

  8. Why would this person go accusing people and NOT LEAVE THEIR NAME – They are confident in saying what he/she or maybe a heshe has to say, YET! they leave “ANONYMOUS” – they also say – “come at me I DARE YA” – send your “CURSES” I DARE YA – yet they leave an anonymous name – First time I ever heard anyone say “curses” – that is almost as ridiculous as ‘shaman’ – WE don’t say shit like that ……. You have lots to say obviously; so why not leave a name ………..

  9. Victoria Boucher

    Why is this letter anonymous? Because you do invite people to come with your to contradict statements?

    • I have said this and stand up for this against ” Big Medicine People” , not anonymous and they tried to scare and belittle me … So Irespect that the writer didn´t take the shit flying in her/His direction . Sometimes we are scared … and that is okay as well.

  10. Wa’do, please don’t stop writing and if your feeling even braver look me up.

  11. While I love the sentiment, I am disappointed that after the challenge to ‘come at you’ with arguments against it, it is signed “anonymous”. If you believe in the cause, you put your name on it. I always do.

  12. these conditions arize from the influence of the groups of “Judeo-Christian and People of the Book religions” These were imposed on all and are mixed with traditional teachings. Its funny on how oppressed our people were through organized religions, to go and make others of the same.


  14. Jody

    Anonymous? All that and challenging to come at him/her to write anonymous. Good letter, but ended in a cheap way to challenge and sign anonymous

  15. Hunter

    Indeed we have stories, the one I know goes back 200 years where a woman was outcast for taking another woman. The Hollywood brainwashing has sadly misled the world. I have been told that the 3 worst things a human being can do, 1) man marry man; 2) woman marry woman; 3) coming down from the mountain before its time.

    • Wow! 200 hundred WHOLE years for your story? In cultures that date back tens of THOUSANDS of years? 200 years? You mean POST-European/Judeo Christian contact when all of these BS false traditions started so heterosexual men could maintain dominion over all others? Thank you for illustrating exactly what the problem is by demonstrating how you’ve been misled & now spew the same ignorance.

    • sikak iskwew

      sounds biblical to me.

  16. Dear anonymous, you hit the nail on the head. Lets hope it is felt, understood, Everything has male and female spirit. Children come from these spirits and children are a blessing to our survival, It is more a blessing when these children are properly guided by strong and respectful men and women.

  17. Denise Beeswax

    it is great that you have the courage to speak out so strongly. you should also have the courage to let us know who you are. people are pretty uptight that is for sure but things are changing. it takes time.

  18. i’m speechless.i can’t agree more from my deepest being. thank you 🙂

  19. anne ned

    being a 2 spirited person myself i have come to learn that looking at both sides of me and balancing myself within my spirit to be such i can see both male and female sides …. men go back into sweats to go back to the womb,to connect with the female side. I for 1 feel i have a lot to give to the youth that are feeling they might be as i am . also to the parents and to the communities as a whole so we are not shunned anymore. we are still native we are still humans. we still feel the beat of the drums and whistles .

  20. Susan Jordan

    Thank you.



  23. jody

    further more, you can’t read other peoples comments.

  24. Cat Anderson

    Very good words! I strongly feel its okay that this person wants to be anonymous and has a very good reason. I will respect that and not question it.

  25. Brian Rain Forth

    Passionate. The central theme: that medicine people (if they are doing so) stop preaching a colonially-influenced hatred toward women and two spirits. I do disagree with one passage, however. Since I’m DARED to come at this person with anger and curses, let me defy that and do it gently and with reason. ‘But what we have now is a sad situation where most men believe that sex is about asserting power over women and relying on women to fulfill all of their sexual fantasies.’ It is this passage that I completely disagree with. This is an exaggerated, misguided statement. There were a few other things that I thought were off the mark, but overall the subject was one with which I agree. I too hope the people to whom we turn for spiritual advice will respond and teach with love and tolerance.

  26. Nume` Namo

    I have heard the stories of the Two Spirited People that were passed down from the ancient ones to my elders and to me. All spoke of them highly and with honor. They were always given a place on all our councils and their wigwams were always near those of the Elders and the Fire Keepers.

  27. It’s so easy to poke a messenger while completely MISSING a message. As was so elegantly stated: it’s time to get over our stories… Every culture & faith tradition has noble wisdom teachings that are in place to guide, inform & transform, but they cannot & should not replace the ever-present reality of the One Great Spirit, which already/always lives & thrives in the hearts of every Being here/now.

  28. I too was asking why remain anonymous, this is a powerful letter which I believe contains many truths… then when I rethought this maybe, just maybe, ‘anonymous’ is allowing space for ALL women and two-spirited people who have experienced the same. I only yearn to have a voice such as this and the strength to deliver this type of message.

    Well versed ‘anonymous’ and thank you for speaking out.

  29. I guess I can understand not signing such a letter- there’s a lot of anger and hatred out there. I also know there are many harmful things said and done, as I am often asked to repair the hurt as best I can. One would hope we could all see the harm in rejecting folks for who they are. After all we are all living with several hundred years of suffering and harsh treatment. There are good reasons many of the bet healers were traditionally women and two spirits, as were many of my teachers.

  30. sikak iskwew

    yeah, you shoulda signed it with your name. its kind of a contradictory message otherwise. that being said, yes….there are people who are so colonized they dont even know how colonized they are. they repeat “teachings” and “traditions” that come from missionaries and say they are indigenous. but they arent. you need to understand what it means to be indigenous to know that our ancestors had sex-based roles but that these roles werent rigidly fixed and neither was gender….decolonize indigenous teachings before they become even more western. you have to have a sense of body shame, hatred of woman, fear of losing power, fear of the afterlife before you can create traditions that are punitive and controlling. thats what europeans are and did. their history is rife with their religious people persecuting anyone and everyone who did not conform to the bible and those laws….what ndgns tribe ever felt it had the right to missionize others let alone their own people in that way?

  31. “The Spirits are waiting.” You been waiting too long Spirits, been waiting to long.
    Send among us the Spirits of War and Wisdom that will empower US with MIGHT and RIGHTEOUSNESS needed to endure the battles to arrest these Evils that our Mothers, Sisters and Daughters have for T-O-O-O-O-O long.

  32. jo

    you idea of two spirit is a white mentality. I don’t care if its 2013 and gay marriage is legal. Your sexual preference has nothing to do with your spirit. You disrespect all those who died for our belief. All the people that the homosexual Spanish raped and killed. you who wrote this article. You are a Spaniard a colonizer and a lost person stuck in the white mentality and way of thinking. I bet you have many white friend most of who are gay or lesbian.
    my name is Jo and I stand by my words because being anatomy’s is a bullshit way to be if you believe what u say. Fuck look and nature life only exist and can be created by male and female. No women and women cant create life and neither can two males so if nature is showing you the right way why go against it. I hope when your time comes and you go into the spirit world you stay stuck in the physical realm as a ghost because you weren’t willing to except the truth. Two spirit does not mean Gay or Lesbian

  33. manyironsinthefire

    I love you, too.

  34. Grant Neufeld

    To the people decrying the author for seeking the safety of anonymity to present these words from: There is, tragically, a long tradition in the dominating society of doing violence to people who speak out like this. So it is fair and reasonable for someone to try to protect themselves from that likely harm while still try to speak out for a better world.

  35. The Lost Creators Son

    wondering why my response was not posted

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