Georg Heinrich Loskiel: "Unnatural sins," 1750

Loskiel's History of the Mission of the United Brethren among the Indians in North America, published in German in 1789 and in English in 1794, is based upon detailed reports by two missionaries of the Moravian Church (a German Protestant denomination) who arrived in the American colonies in 1742 and 1750.

These missionaries were active among the Indians of Pennsylvania, New York, and North Carolina. In terms that, in German, refer clearly to same-sex sexuality, Loskiel reports:

In relations between the sexes, the Indians are modest and decent. Publicly, at least, one seldom observes lascivious, immoral, or indecent behavior among them. It cannot be denied that in this respect they are far superior to the majority of peoples. But this does not mean that they are free of lewdness [Unzucht], and unnatural sins [unnatiirliche Siinden] are not uncommon among them.[1]


Jonathan Ned Katz, Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. (NY: Crowell, 1976) pg. 290-291.

  1. Georg Heinrich Loskiel, Geschichte der Mission der evangelischen Bruder unter den Indianern in Nordamerika (Barby: Evangelische Brtldergemeine, 1789), p. 18. I wish to thank James Steakley for translating this text. An English edition is titled: History of the Mission of the United Brethren among the Indians in North America, trans. Christian 1. LaTrobe (London: Brethren's Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel, 1794), p. 4.  

    Perrin du Lac's report of his travels in Louisiana and among the Natives of Missouri, Ohio, and the bordering areas (1801-03), mentions "men dressed in women's clothes," who, along with prisoners, perform the "humiliating task" of serving at Native ceremonies. He later, adds: "In all the savage nations, there exist men who dress in women's clothes and who are subject to the same work as they are. They engage in neither war nor hunting, but, depending on the circumstances, are used to satisfy the brutal passion of either sex. These men, whose love of idleness and whose abominable depravity lead them to take up this kind of life, are scorned by the braves, who allow them to perform only the lowest kinds of work. Do they go hunting? If they are taken along, it is only to watch over the horses, to skin or carry the pelts of game that are killed, to carry the meat, cut the wood, light the fire, and, in the absence of women, to satisfy a brutal passion abhorrent to nature" (Voyage dans les deux Louisianes [Lyon: Bruyset Aine et Buyand, [805]. p. 318. 352).

    Georg Heinrich von Langsdorff was a German scientist and traveler who, employed by the Russians, visited Russian America as far as California. On his travels in 1803-07 he reported seeing homosexual male "concubines" among the Oonalashka Indians {Feyages and Travels in Various Parts of the World... 2 vols. [London: H. Colburn, 18[3-[4]. vol. 2. p. 47-48. 64).