Web Blog of Connie Vines, author or multi-genre fiction. Awards: H.O.L.T. Medallion (Honoring Outstanding Literary Talent), Orange Rose, Award of Excellence--Contemporary Romance; Independent eBook Award, Dream Realm Award. National Book Award and Frankfurt Book Award, nominee--YA Historical Fiction. Blog includes guest bloggers and snippets of WIP.
Sexuality Among the American Indians of the Past by Ginger Simpson
Today, I’m addressing
courting and marriage; specifically the presence of plural wives in the tribes
of the old west, most notably the Lakota Sioux.Since Gay Rights are a hot topic in the news these days, I’m also
including information about homosexuality among American Indians in the 1800s.
The number of men killed
during battle or buffalo hunts was often the reason for having more than one
bride.With honor being the backbone of
the American Indian, remaining relatives frequently took on families left
behind in the case of death. If one brave had only one wife and his brother was
killed, leaving behind two, then it wasn't uncommon for that man to become the
husband to three.
Quite often, a singular wife
might suggest her spouse marry again to ease her workload while giving her a
senior status in the household.Little
is written about the sexual habits in the research books I've used, so I always
wonder how accurate our romantic notions are in the novels we create about the
American Indian tribes. Thankfully, we write fiction and can enhance what we
don't know to be certain.
How surprising to learn of
the respect and attention given to males we would today consider
homosexuals.These tribal members were
more the transvestite types, called 'winkte,' and although feared to some
degree, they weren’t hated.
Rather than participate in
male roles such as hunting and warring, the 'winkte' dressed as women and took
up quilling, tanning, and other female duties.They lived in their own tepees at the edge of camp, which was an area
usually reserved for ancient widows and orphans.I'm not quite sure why there would be orphans
since most research indicates the Sioux were very family oriented, and the
tribe was considered an extended family who took care of their own, but as I
continue to write Western Historical, I’m bound to learn the answer by
researching.Perhaps the ‘orphans’ were
of an age that they no longer required care.
But, back on track…the
'winkte' were believed to acquire their 'womanly' skills through supernatural
inspiration.Pieces of work completed by
a 'winkte' were considered more desirable and often cherished. Some also deemed
the transvestites to have healing powers and sought them out to name their
children. Of course, the names were considered secret and not used, but still
hopefully strengthened the child.Girls
were never given 'winkte' names.
Although those men who
dressed as women were given respect in most ways, male warriors were instructed
that even though a 'winkte' lived and worked as a woman, to engage in sexual
relations with one was cause for retribution after death.The belief held that in the land beyond, the
warrior wouldn’t be allowed to live in the main circle, but away from the rest
where the 'winktes' would torture him.I
suppose it worked as the Sioux held the 'beyond' in the greatest reverence.
There appears to be no
documentation of obvious lesbianism among the female tribal members.This may be attributed to the 'dream'
instructions given to young women that warned of avoiding perversion.Obviously, fear played an important role in
instilling the goal of wife and mother, as no record exists of old maids among
the Sioux.I found it very interesting
that men were given greater acceptance of their differences while women were
more restricted and basically 'scared straight.'
cover by Michelle Lee
I hope you enjoyed this
tidbit of information, so much that you might check out Destiny’s Bride, published by Books We Love, and one of my western
historical romance novels that includes similar research about the Lakota,
peppered in to give historical credence to my story.You can find Destiny’s Bride along with my other books on my Amazon author’s