Two-Spirit People (also Two Spirit or Twospirit), is an English term that emerged in 1990, out of the third annual inter-tribal Native American/First Nations gay and lesbian conference, in Winnipeg, to describe Native Americans who fulfill one of many mixed gender roles found traditionally among many Native Americans and Canadian First Nations indigenous groups. The mixed gender roles encompassed by the term historically included wearing the clothing and performing the work associated with both men and women.
A direct translation of the Ojibwe term, Niizh manidoowag, "two-spirited" or "two-spirit" is usually used to indicate a person whose body simultaneously houses a masculine spirit and a feminine spirit. The term can also be used more abstractly, to indicate presence of two contrasting human spirits (such as Warrior and Clan Mother) or two contrasting animal spirits (which, depending on the culture, might be Eagle and Coyote); however, these uses, while descriptive of some aboriginal cultural practices and beliefs, depart somewhat from the 1990 purposes of promoting the term.
According to Brian Joseph Gilly, male berdachism "was a fundamental institution among most tribal peoples." Will Roscoe writes that male and female berdaches have been "documented in over 130 tribes, in every region of North America, among every type of native culture."