Historical Two Spirits

Kaúxuma Núpika, also called Qangon, Bowdash, and the Manlike Woman, was a Kootenai person who lived in the early 19th century.


Osh-Tisch from the Crow tribe. She was born biologically male, but mostly dressed in women’s clothes and performed women’s roles in her tribe. She was a leader among other Two Spirits in her tribe (Williams, p 81) and occasionally dressed in men’s clothes and fought as a warrior. Her name Osh-Tisch means “finds them and kills them” and was given to her after a successful raid in the Battle of the Rosebud. (Spirit of the Flesh, p. 68) Osh-Tisch was blasted by missionaries for being Two Spirit, but this didn’t change her. It was because of this influence that future generations of Crows didn’t publically claim the Two Spirit role in the tribe.

Charlie the Weaver

Charlie the Weaver  is from the Navajo tribe. As his name implies, he was weaver, an art form usually done by women. He was known for wearing clothing that was different from both male and female styles. (Changing Ones, pg. 42) This picture was taken in 1895.

Hasteen Klah

This is Hasteen Klah, born in 1867 and died in 1937. He was a Navajo medicine man and master weaver. Among Navajo, weaving is typically done by females. He created the sandpainting style of Navajo Rugs, many of which are hanging in museums. Hasteen was known for documenting many Navajo ceremonial and spiritual practices for future generations to learn. (Changing Ones: Third and Fourth Genders in Native North America, Will Roscoe, p. 54 and Navajo Creation Myth: The Story of the Emergence By Hasteen Klah, p. 2) In his lifetime, Hasteen mastered at least 8 different Navajo spiritual ceremonies while the typical medicine person mastered only 2.

Navajos believed he was honored by the Gods and was expected to master both female and male roles; the female role, weaving, and the male role, medicine man. (p. 47)


We’wha was born in 1849 and was a cultural ambassador for her Zuni pueblo people. She was known for her artistry as a weaver and potter and was active in her community’s ceremonies and religious societies. She learned English from working at the mission school, interactions with American military officers, and studies with anthropologist Matilda Stevenson. Stevenson noted she was “the most intelligent person in the pueblo [and] loved by all children, to whom he was ever so kind.” (Zuni Man-Woman, p. 46) We’wha accompanied Stevenson to Washington D.C. where she met with politicians, President Grover Cleavland, and people of high society. She lived with Stevenson for 6 months while the anthropologist studied her art work and interviewed her on Zuni culture and religion. We’wha died at 49 in 1896 from heart failure, but her story lives on in anthropological studies, books, and artwork inspired by her life.


Lozen was born in the 1840’s into the Warm Springs Apache band. She was the sister of Victorio, the Warm Springs Band Chief. Lozen accompanied Victorio and other Apache leaders, as a warrior, in battles against the US Army. Victorio said of his sister, “Lozen is as my right hand. Strong as a man, braver than most, and cunning in strategy, Lozen is a shield to her people.” As a medicine person she was a healer and prophet who could sense which direction her enemies were. (Roscoe, p. 90) This was valued and respected gift on war parties. Lozen and her companion Dahteste (Tah-des-te) were mediators between the US Army and Geronimo’s band. After surrendering to the US Army with Geronimo’s band, she was taken as a prisoner of war to Alabama, where she died in 1889 from tuberculosis.

Kuilix, “The Red One” (or “Red Shirt”) aka Mary Quille, a Pend d’Oreille woman,  distinguished herself in war and appears to have been a recognized leader ,“A woman warrior’s swift about-face left the enemy stupefied.”  Kuilix was “renowned for intrepidity on the field of battle.” (Will Roscoe)