Same-sex marriage?

Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am a tribal citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians. I have read the article in today’s paper of the turn down on the proposal and I would like to submit a comment on this. I am a two spirited person and learned this while visiting Leach Lake Reservation in Minnesota. I have been ashamed all my life of who I was and never understood why I was so different. I knew very few people like me and to my family, I was an embarrassment. It’s wasn’t till later in life that I learned of my “special purpose” as a two spirited person and how valuable that was. Here’s an article I found that briefly explains where I’m coming from:

“In Native American culture, before the Europeans came to the America‘s, “two-spirit” referred to an ancient teaching. This type of cross-gender identity has been documented in over 155 tribes across Native North America (Roscoe 1988)

Our Elders tell us of people who were gifted among all beings because they carried two spirits, that of a male and female. It is told that women engaged in tribal warfare and married other women, as there were men who married other men. These individuals were looked upon as a third and fourth gender in many cases and in almost all cultures they were honored and revered. Two-spirit people were often the visionaries, the healers, the medicine people, the nannies of orphans, the caregivers (Roscoe 1988). They were respected as fundamental components of our ancient culture and societies. This is our guiding force as well as our source of strength. This is the heart of Two-Spirited People of the 1st Nations.” 

If this is the case and we are so strong on our teachings, whether it be religion, walking on, celebrations, rites of passage, or uniting. Shouldn’t we carry all our teachings and traditions on to our children? Shouldn’t we show a blind eye to anyone outside our ways, beliefs, traditions, and rights as a sovereign Nation. Not in the way of rudeness but in the way of honoring our history and legends and what kind of people we’ve become because of it. 

Our Elders pass on their knowledge, experiences, stories, and everything they can to bring this tribe closer and closer to everything we’ve dreamed it could be. If part of that is open our governing body’s minds to “two-spirit” people being able to live happily in every way that non “two spirited” people can once again, why are we giving it a second thought? Marriage is a union of trust, honor, respect, love, and understanding. Those who have been married many years understand the depth of what that means; however there are also tribal members that have lived together as a family for just as many years and would love and should deserve the same respect given to them as we give to the others. They also understand the depth of what that means. Why stop and judge those that were made to be the way they are in the eyes of the Creator? Why not allow the same respectful ceremonies, traditions, rights of passage for their children, and of course the ability to Unite in Holy Matrimony in our Creator’s Loving Hands.

For this reason and this reason only, do I feel we should approve the Same-sex marriage amendment!

Coexisting Baamaapii,