A Navajo nádleehí.
Tags: gender, sex/sexuality, violence, gender binary, Native American culture, third gender, two-spirit people, 61+ mins
Access: PBS (includes Trailer; Clip 1; Clip 2; Clip 3)
Summary: This documentary from PBS's Independent Lens series centers on the story of Fred Martinez, "a boy who was also a girl" who was murdered as a teenager, making him "one of the youngest hate-crime victims in modern history." The film explores non-binary gender traditions or "two-spirit people" in the indigenous cultures of North America. As explained here, "Most tribes were aware of the existence of two-spirit people, and many still have a name in their traditional language for them. For example, The Din éh (Navaho) refer to them as nàdleehé or one who is 'transformed', the Lakota (Sioux) as winkte, the Mohave as alyha, the Zuni as lhamana, the Omaha as mexoga, the Aleut and Kodiak as achnucek, the Zapotec as ira' muxe, the Cheyenne as he man eh, etc. (Roscoe, 1988). Some tribes had different names for two-spirited men and women." Several short clips from the film are available from PBS. I use Clip 1 (2:24) to help students think beyond the gender binary of contemporary American society. PBS's website for the film offers some educational resources, including a map of gender-diverse cultures across the globe. For additional information about the film and how to purchase it, click here.
Submitted By: Michelle Sandhoff
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