Back to All Events

We’wha & the Two Spirit Tradition in Native Society

Zuni dough bowl, circa 1880, 15” diameter, attributed to We’wha (1849- 1896)

Crow dancer in Elk Tooth Dress, 2016, mixed media on vellum, 10 x 8 inches. Artist: Mona Medicine Crow (Crow)

Ongoing Exhibition - Ends July 14

John Molloy Gallery - New York, NY
June 14 - July 14, 2018

John Molloy Gallery is pleased to present We’wha & the Two Spirit Tradition in Native Society, an exhibition and sale of antique work by We’wha and Arroh-ah-och, two Native American 19th century two spirit artists as well as contemporary work by Mona Medicine Crow (Crow), Thomas Huakaas (Lakota), Sheldon Raymore (Lakota, Cheyenne River Sioux) and Lokowi-he-ne (Mohawk).

The two spirit tradition refers to a traditional role in Native America of people who did not relate fully to the binary  genders of male & female, of people who identified as having the spirit of both genders. While the terminology varied from tribe to tribe, the ethos of acceptance permeated all the groups and often granted these individuals special status.

The great media theorist, Marshall McLuhan, speculated that the electronic culture would re-tribalize Western society.  His observations, now made more than fifty years ago, are becoming actualized in our communities via acceptance of same-sex marriage and gender neutral bathrooms, gradually bringing us towards the communal attitudes on gender issues that Native American culture made manifest more than 100 years ago.