Jones' "They Played the Harlot with Each Other," 1901-02

In a rare report concerning Lesbianism among Native Americans, in a study of “Fox Texts," based on information obtained in 1901-02, William Jones, includes a section of "Parables," the sixth of which is titled “Two Maidens Who Played the Harlot with Each Other." This is summarized in a note as lion account of how two young women had sexual intercourse with each other, and how, as a result of the unnatural union, one gave birth to an unnatural offspring"-a legend possibly suggesting heterosexual male and/or Christian influence.

It is said that once on a time long ago there were two young women who were friends together. It is told that there were also two youths who tried to woo the two maidens, but they were not able even so much as to talk with one another. After awhile the youths began to suspect something wrong with them. It is reported that this took place in the summer.

So it is said that once during the summer, the two maidens started away to peel off bark. The youths followed after, staying just far enough behind to keep within sight of them. The girls went a long way off, and over there is where they stripped off bark. While (the girls) were peeling the bark (the youths) all that time kept themselves hidden from them.

After awhile (the youths) no longer heard the sound of (the maidens) at work. Whereupon they began to creep up to where they were. When they drew nigh, behold, the maidens were then in the act of taking off their clothes! The first to disrobe flung herself down on the ground and lay there. 'Pray, what are these (girls) going to do?' was the feeling in the hearts of (the youths). And to their amazement the girls began to lie with each other!

Thereupon one of the youths whistled, and both together ran up to where (the girls) were. One that was lying on top instantly fen over backwards, Her clitoris was standing out and had a queer shape, it was like a turtle's penis. Thereupon (the maidens) began to plead with (the youths): 'Oh, don't tell on us!' they said to them. 'Truly it is not of our own free desire that we have done this thing. We have done it under the influence of some unknown being.'

It is said that afterwards one of the maidens became big with child. In the course of time, strange to relate, she gave birth, and the child was like a soft-shell turtle![1]


Jonathan Ned Katz, Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. (NY: Crowell, 1976) pg. 317-318.

  1. William Jones, Fox Texts, Publications of the American Ethnological Society, vol. 1 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1907), p. 151.