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Anthropologie (230)

" The Berdaches : ' Man-Woman ' in North America "


Résumé :

" The Berdaches : ' Man-Woman ' in North America " - Traduction en anglais de " L'homme-femme. (Les berdaches en Amérique du Nord) " - Un article originalement publié dans la revue Libre - politique, anthropologie, philosophie. Payot, Paris : 1978, no 78-3, pp. 57-102. Traduit du français à l’anglais par S.M. Van Wyck, anthropologue, 1993. Traduction inédite jamais publiée en anglais en version intégrale.

In his exemplary narrative of captivity among the Ojibwa/Chippewa, John Tanner [2] (known as Sashwa’benase or “the Buzzard”) relates how he once received a marriage proposal from Ozawendib (or “Yellow Head”), whose fate it had been to become agokwa” [3], that is “like a woman”.
At the time, Tanner lived on a hunting territory in the Red River region (Manitoba/Minnesota). Like many aboriginal hunters, each spring he took his furs to the North West Company, which was then in keen competition with the Hudson’s Bay Company.
The moment Yellow Head chose to join Tanner’s camp was inauspicious ; the winter was harsh and provisions were scarce. The agokwa was looking for a family in which to become socially integrated, one where he could attend to strictly female tasks. Without such a family, a certain death awaited him ; either from famine, which was rampant, or from warfare. Indeed, the Chippewa, who were allies of the Assiniboine (Siouan) and the Cree (Algonquian), were conducting an on-going war with the Sioux of Minnesota and the Dakotas. The fur trading companies, moreover, were known to have exacerbated such ancestral conflicts.

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