10 March 2016

Indigenous languages and gender

"Indigenous languages recognize gender states not even named in English" (10 March 2016) explores how our social worlds -- including our understanding and experiences of gender -- are shaped by language. Until the arrival of European colonizers, gender wasn't part of a binary system (man or woman) for many indigenous groups in North America. Rather, gender was something much more fluid with non-binary gendered terms and ways of talking about individuals and social relationships.
Indigenous languages have words for gender states that are not expressed in English, as well ... . In Cree, for example, “aayahkwew” means “neither man or woman.” In Inuktitut, “sipiniq” means “infant whose sex changes at birth.” In Kanien’keha, or Mohawk language, “onĂ³n:wat” means “I have the pattern of two spirits inside my body.”
This article is part of a series exploring culturally relevant First Nations sex education from The Globe and Mail.