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Two Spirits

Third and Fourth Genders in Native America


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"Berdaches" or Two Spirits

Mask of Ko'lhamana, Zuni two-spirit kachina

Throughout native North America, individuals sometimes combined the roles of men and women with traits unique to their status in distinct alternative genders. "Berdache" (bur-DOSH) is the word used by anthropologists to refer to such individuals. Many Native Americans today prefer the term "two-spirit."