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, “onón: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.
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.