Pukawiss the Outcast

on Feb 06, 2014 by Jay Jordan Hawke

In my recently released novel, “Pukawiss the Outcast,” the lead protagonist, Joshua, is a 14-year-old, Ojibwe Indian, and he is coming to terms with the fact that he is gay. The Ojibwe have a long tradition of respect and reverence for gay people, or “two spirits” as they are known today. Western cultures tend to demonize and fear that which is different. Native American traditions, on the other hand, tended to honor those differences, believing that God singled out some people for a particular reason. As Walter L. Williams put in The Spirit and the Flesh: “If a person is different from the average individual, this means that the spirits must have taken particular care in creating that person. If the spirits take such care, by this reasoning, such an individual must be especially close to the spirits.”

This was considered especially true of two spirits. Traditionally, one would have known a two spirit due to the fact that he would have had some sort of transformational dream that revealed to him his two-spirit status. One would never ignore such a dream. It elevated and individual within that tribe, and singled that person out as someone special. Dreams were considered messages from the spirits to an individual. And given their closeness to the spiritual, a two-spirit was especially good at receiving dreams and interpreting the messages within them. The Ojibwe believed that two-spirits were particularly adept dreamers – they could in fact see the future.

I try to honor this tradition with Joshua, my gay teen protagonist. He discovers that through dreams, he can peer into the future and capture brief, often puzzling, fragments of what is to come. As the Native American Shaman, Lame Deer, once said: “Nature doesn’t make someone different without also giving them a special power.” Dreaming is Joshua’s power.

I personally believe there is a larger reality beyond the one we know about – and that one can access that through dreams. But I’m even more fascinated by how this belief got associated with two-spirits. The reverence for people who are different is the Ojibwe way of saying that everyone should be honored and respected and has something important to contribute. Two-spirits provided visions for their people—visions which guided, inspired, and motivated them. Dreamers thus played an essential role in society, one that was rightfully celebrated.

Imagine living in such a world for a moment—a world where as a gay person, you are celebrated, rather than denigrated, and elevated due to your special connection to god. This world is foreign to many gay people today. But you need to understand that God doesn’t hate you just because society does. Denigration of gay people is not universal. In another place, and another time, you would have been revered for your closeness to God, not condemned as an abomination before him. I offer my readers a small taste of that world in Pukawiss the Outcast.

Note: I love the fact that the Ojibwe word for dream, Bawazigaywin, has the English word for gay within it. Synchronicity is what makes life so interesting and meaningful sometimes.

Pukawiss the Outcast

Harmony Ink Press
Genre YA Contemporary M/M

When family complications take Joshua away from his fundamentalist Christian mother and leave him with his grandfather, he finds himself immersed in a mysterious and magical world. Joshua’s grandfather is a Wisconsin Ojibwe Indian who, along with an array of quirky characters, runs a recreated sixteenth-century village for the tourists who visit the reservation. Joshua’s mother kept him from his Ojibwe heritage, so living on the reservation is liberating for him. The more he learns about Ojibwe traditions, the more he feels at home.

One Ojibwe legend in particular captivates him. Pukawiss was a powerful manitou known for introducing dance to his people, and his nontraditional lifestyle inspires Joshua to embrace both his burgeoning sexuality and his status as an outcast.  Ultimately, Joshua summons the courage necessary to reject his strict upbringing and to accept the mysterious path set before him.

Find It

Dreamspinner Press

Find Me

FacebookTwitterWebsiteGoodreads

About Jay Jordan Hawke

Jay Jordan Hawke (Jayhawke) spent way too much time in college and holds a bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. in history, as well as a second master’s in Outdoor Education. He loves everything sci-fi, especially Star Trek, and hopes to be on the first starship out of here. In the meantime, he teaches high school full time and anxiously awaits the day when he can write full time. His hobbies include camping, reading, running, writing, and attending powwows. He resides in one of the Great Lakes States near the capital of Tecumseh’s Confederacy. Jay Hawke loves to interact with fans through social media and can be reached at the links to the right.

In my recently released novel, “Pukawiss the Outcast,” the lead protagonist, Joshua, is a 14-year-old, Ojibwe Indian, and he is coming to terms with the fact that he is gay. The Ojibwe have a long tradition of respect and reverence for gay people, or “two spirits” as they are known today. Western cultures tend to demonize and fear that which is different. Native American traditions, on the other hand, tended to honor those differences, believing that God singled out some people for a particular reason. As Walter L. Williams put in The Spirit and the Flesh: “If a person is different from the average individual, this means that the spirits must have taken particular care in creating that person. If the spirits take such care, by this reasoning, such an individual must be especially close to the spirits.”

This was considered especially true of two spirits. Traditionally, one would have known a two spirit due to the fact that he would have had some sort of transformational dream that revealed to him his two-spirit status. One would never ignore such a dream. It elevated and individual within that tribe, and singled that person out as someone special. Dreams were considered messages from the spirits to an individual. And given their closeness to the spiritual, a two-spirit was especially good at receiving dreams and interpreting the messages within them. The Ojibwe believed that two-spirits were particularly adept dreamers – they could in fact see the future.

I try to honor this tradition with Joshua, my gay teen protagonist. He discovers that through dreams, he can peer into the future and capture brief, often puzzling, fragments of what is to come. As the Native American Shaman, Lame Deer, once said: “Nature doesn’t make someone different without also giving them a special power.” Dreaming is Joshua’s power.

I personally believe there is a larger reality beyond the one we know about – and that one can access that through dreams. But I’m even more fascinated by how this belief got associated with two-spirits. The reverence for people who are different is the Ojibwe way of saying that everyone should be honored and respected and has something important to contribute. Two-spirits provided visions for their people—visions which guided, inspired, and motivated them. Dreamers thus played an essential role in society, one that was rightfully celebrated.

Imagine living in such a world for a moment—a world where as a gay person, you are celebrated, rather than denigrated, and elevated due to your special connection to god. This world is foreign to many gay people today. But you need to understand that God doesn’t hate you just because society does. Denigration of gay people is not universal. In another place, and another time, you would have been revered for your closeness to God, not condemned as an abomination before him. I offer my readers a small taste of that world in Pukawiss the Outcast.

Note: I love the fact that the Ojibwe word for dream, Bawazigaywin, has the English word for gay within it. Synchronicity is what makes life so interesting and meaningful sometimes.


Pukawiss the Outcast

Harmony Ink Press
Genre YA Contemporary M/M

When family complications take Joshua away from his fundamentalist Christian mother and leave him with his grandfather, he finds himself immersed in a mysterious and magical world. Joshua’s grandfather is a Wisconsin Ojibwe Indian who, along with an array of quirky characters, runs a recreated sixteenth-century village for the tourists who visit the reservation. Joshua’s mother kept him from his Ojibwe heritage, so living on the reservation is liberating for him. The more he learns about Ojibwe traditions, the more he feels at home.

One Ojibwe legend in particular captivates him. Pukawiss was a powerful manitou known for introducing dance to his people, and his nontraditional lifestyle inspires Joshua to embrace both his burgeoning sexuality and his status as an outcast.  Ultimately, Joshua summons the courage necessary to reject his strict upbringing and to accept the mysterious path set before him.


Find Pukawiss the Outcast:


About Jay Jordan Hawke

Jay Jordan Hawke (Jayhawke) spent way too much time in college and holds a bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. in history, as well as a second master’s in Outdoor Education. He loves everything sci-fi, especially Star Trek, and hopes to be on the first starship out of here. In the meantime, he teaches high school full time and anxiously awaits the day when he can write full time. His hobbies include camping, reading, running, writing, and attending powwows. He resides in one of the Great Lakes States near the capital of Tecumseh’s Confederacy. Jay Hawke loves to interact with fans through social media and can be reached at the links to the right.


Find Jay Jordan Hawke:


Add a Comment

  • Subscribe

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Top Posts & Pages

  • Recent Comments