The Berdache as shaman: an analysis
Klieger, P. Christiaan
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Klieger, P. Christiaan. (1984). The Berdache as shaman: an analysis. -- Lambda Alpha Journal of Man, v.16, no.1, p.35-45.
The phenomenon of berdache sexual inversion among the Northern Plains Indians continues to be both a source of interest and confusion for anthropologists. Early ethnohistoric literature and later causal analyses of the role of the berdache have tended to be biased by either western morality or western psychological paradigms. This problem was clearly described by Blakeslee (1979). Yet even recent interpretations have tended to circumvent the issues of role transgression in regards to the maintenance of the role in Plains cultures and the ritualistic importance of the berdache to those groups. What has been missing in the analysis of the berdache is the process of native conceptualization of sex roles and the process by which these cultures accommodate individuals who do not conform to the norm. A comparative analysis of belief systems can be useful in demonstrating the integration of atypical roles into society, for it appears that the berdache is intimately associated with shamanism.