Monday, October 15, 2007

"Winkte" is the Sioux word for a Gay man

Today's Bitchin' Queer Quote AND Poem both spring from the Native American revival of winkte (Gay) consciousness. I find it inspiring to learn about the cultural traditions and respected roles of Gay men in Native American history - I sure didn't learn about this in school! I hope it inspires you, too.

He told me that if nature puts a burden on a man by making him different, it also gives him a power.

-John (Fire) Lame Deer, Sioux Medicine Man

We are special to the Sioux!
They gave us respect for strange powers
Of looking into the sun, the night.
They paid us with horses not derision.

To the Cheyenne we were no curiosity!
We were friends or wives of brave warriors
Who hunted for our cooking pots
Who protected our tipis from Pawnee.

We went to the mountain for our puberty vision.
No horse or lance or thunderbird
Crossed the dreaming eye which would have sent us
Into war or the hunter's lonely woods.
To some song floated on mountain air.
To others colors and design appeared on clouds.
To a few words fell from the eagle's wing,
And they took to the medicine tent,
And in their holiness made power
For the people of the Cheyenne Nation.
There was space for us in the village.

The Crow and Ponca offered deerskin
When the decision to avoid the warpath was made,
And we were accepted into the fur robes
Of a young warrior, and lay by his flesh
And knew his mouth and warm groin:
Or we married (a second wife) to the chief.
And if we fulfilled our duties, he smiled
And gave us his grandchildren to care for.

We were special to the Sioux, Cheyenne, Ponca
And the Crow who valued our worth and did not spit
Names at our lifted skirts nor kicked our nakedness.
We had power with the people!

And if we cared to carry the lance, or dance
Over enemy scalps and take buffalo
Then that, too, was good for the Nation,
And contrary to our stand we walked backwards.

The Author of this amazing poem is Maurice Kenny (b. 1929, Mohawk), as quoted in "The Essential Gay Mystics," Edited by Andrew Harvey, pg. 66-67.


Tom said...

This is some good stuff. Thanks for posting it. I enjoyed it.
Since the american indians probably came from the asian continent it's interesting to see the similarities.
I've posted some information you might be interested in:

B. Crow Feather said...

I decided to google an old term I have heard a few times. Winkte. I am Lakota (Sioux) of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, it is nice to see some understanding and rememberance for the peoples of the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires - Great Sioux Nation). Thank you!

Bobby Crow Feather