“Pine Leaf” was a Native American who was born in 1806 to the Gros Ventres in the midst of an inter-tribal conflict.
She was kidnapped by a raiding party of Crows when she was only ten years old. A Crow warrior adopted her and raised her as one of his people.
According to historians, she seemed rebellious and did not behave like other girls of her age. She was always eager to acquire the skills which were traditionally perceived as male ones.
Pine Leaf was considered by some to be Two-Spirited, which is a modern umbrella term used by some indigenous North Americans to describe gay, lesbian, bisexual and gender-variant individuals in their communities.
As she grew older, she became notorious for her exemplary talent in horse riding, marksmanship, and her ability to field-dress a buffalo. However, unlike other Two-Spirits, she wore typical female clothing rather than adopting men’s garments.
She became the leader of her lodge when her father passed away. She earned the respect as a warrior after she proved her skills in a riot with the Blackfoots.
Pine Leaf’s motherly instinct also made her more reliable in defending her people whenever there was a need for it. She would confront threats head on to protect her people. Also, she formed a group of warriors with whom she reportedly attacked the Blackfoot and stole their horses.
Pine Leaf married four wives, which increased the wealth and prestige of her lodge. She became involved in peace negotiations with other Upper Missouri tribes following the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie, and successfully negotiated peace with the Gros Ventres, the tribe of her birth.
Unfortunately, after several years of peace, Pine Leaf was ambushed and killed by a Gros Ventres party.
It is interesting to note that many indigenous western religions have historically included concepts of third or different genders into their narratives.
On the other hand, many middle-eastern religions, including Islam and Christianity, interpret homosexuality and gender identity to be stumbling blocks.
by Eleanor Hope (@elliehopeauthor on Twitter / Facebook)
Source: Wikipedia / Images: Wikipedia (Public Domain)