A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the photographer John Fouch and his pictures of Plains Indians and Chief Joseph and other Nez Perces at Fort Keogh in Montana in the late 1870s—and I promised more. Today’s news from the Senate—the 61-30 vote for cloture on the “Employment Nondiscrimination Act,” also known as ENDA—seems like the right occasion to consider another Fouch image.
ENDA would make it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Fouch’s relevant photo is of “Squaw Jim” and a companion—maybe his wife. They are Crow Indians and the time is the late 1870s.
The literature refers to cross gender Indian people as “Berdache,” a French word derived from a Persian word referring to male-male attraction. This from the “Encyclopedia of the Great Plains”:
“In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, French explorers, traders, and missionaries in the Mississippi Valley occasionallyRead The Article