Non-binary gender identity is not a new idea or trend. People have consistently identified non-dual identities—neither strictly men nor strictly women in the strict sense—for more than two thousand years, often playing key roles in their communities. We:wa, a Zuni American native, is an example of a person who is not defined by socially accepted gender norms.
We:wa is a lhamana, or traditional Zuni gender role, also known as “Two-Spirit.” He was born as a male, dressed in a mixture of male and female costumes, and performed traditional tasks of both sexes, such as weaving and can-making, hunting large game, and cutting wood.
As the cultural leader of the Zuni and the entire Native American community, as well as the ambassador to the European community, We:wa played an important role in the Zuni community. On Monday local time, Google created a doodle to honor We:legacy. wa’s
In fact, this graffiti commemorates the start of Native American Tradition Month. Every November, the United States is said to commemorate Native Americans’ history, culture, and traditions.
In 1849, We:wa was born in New Mexico. We:parents wa’s died of smallpox—a disease introduced by European colonists to the native American population—four years later, leaving her an orphan. We:wa later developed into a skilled fiber artist, weaver, and potter. Although many Zuni children were considered lhamana at a young age, We:lhamana wa’s was not discovered until much later.
We:wa is a member of the Zuni delegation as well. The delegation is said to have traveled to Washington, DC with President Grover Cleveland, but there were disagreements between the Zuni and the US government. We:wa was falsely accused of being a wizard. And then go to jail.
Wa died of heart failure at the age of 47 in 1896.
The graffiti on Monday was created in collaboration with the Zuni tribe by Zuni Pueblo guest artist Mallery Quetawki, and the music was composed by Zuni Olla Maidens.