Gender Troubled: European Masculinity and Kaúxuma núpika on the Columbia Plateau
Kaúxuma núpika was a Ktunaxa guide, prophet and mediator from the Columbia Plateau in the early 19th century that appears in multiple Euro-American fur trader journals and narratives. He left his community as a young woman, and returned a year later as a man, who gained significant political and spiritual influence across the Plateau. Fur traders that hired Kaúxuma núpika as a translator, mediator and guide interpreted him as a man, and often only discovered that he was born a woman long after they had parted ways. Kaúxuma núpika, knowingly or not, was performing a masculinity entirely legible to these traders—and within their narratives they are constantly trying to remind both themselves, and the reader, that this man is not actually a man.
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