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Sahaykwisā

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Sahaykwisā was a Mohave Shaman who lived in what is now Colorado from 1850 to 1895, when she was raped and murdered. She was known as a Transvestite and a Lesbian, though as a Shaman she was probably a Two-spirit, a Shaman who in many Native American cultures is seen as embodying the spirit of both a man and woman. Her story has been passed down orally as Mohave lore, and her story may be somewhat tainted.

Supposedly she preferred to dress in male attire, and was known to take wives instead of husbands. Her first wife was said to have eloped with a man after persistent teasing by other tribe members. She eventually returned to Sahaykwisā, but after the teasing continued Sahaykwisā asked her wife to leave, and she returned to the man she had eloped with.

After that she took a second wife. This wife was teased by all members of the tribe, including Sahaykwisā's first wife. This teasing led to a fight at a tribe dance between the two wives, which was cheered on by the rest of the tribe. After this her second wife left too.

After this she began to court a married woman, as in Mohave culture it was permitted that men could "seduce" married women though the husband had a right to fight for his wife. Apparently she was not well received at first, though when she returned and asked the woman to grind her corn, she complied. Grinding corn was something that Mohave women traditionally did once arriving at her new husband's camp. So, in essence, she was accepting Sahaykwisā's advances by grinding her corn for her. On her third visit, the two eloped.

The affair lasted only a short time, and the woman returned to her husband. However Sahaykwisā was persistent, and continued to visit the woman. The woman's husband was furious, feeling that he could not compete with a woman for his wife. So to show her the role of a woman, the husband brutally raped Sahaykwisā in the bushes. Sahaykwisā left without saying a word.

After this experience she ceased to court women and entered in to relationships with men. She was said to bewitch women in their dreams, but never had another physical relationship with one. She was turned down by men again and again for her masculine nature. Eventually, missing the companionship of women, she began to search for ways to die.

She did this by getting drunk as she could, then bragging to the males in the tribe that she had bewitched an old man she had attempted to court. The enraged tribesmen first raped her, then threw her into the Colorado River where she drowned. She was not missed in her tribe, as she was believed to be a witch, and witches deserved to die.

ReferencesEdit

Matt and Andrej Koymasky website

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