The Navajo Tribe
The Navajo tribe is the largest American Indian tribe. They lived in the southwest in areas that are known for Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. The Navajo tribe were semi-nomadic people and were hunters and gathers. Their spiritual practice is about balance and harmony. The Navajo boy’s ritual was their voice cracking and becoming a man and the girl’s rite of passage was getting molded into a woman.
The rite of passage for the Navajo boys is their voice cracking. In the process of a boy’s voice changing, a ceremony is created for the boys within a sweat lodge where all of the men come together and go inside. Inside the sweat lodge, they are taught songs, prayers, and teachings. Boys run out of the lodge and begin yelling out that their voice is changing. Once the boy comes back from his first round of yelling, he must continue with another round. Each round of yelling takes quite a long time. A while later, the door of blankets will open up and the boy will run for the last time to the east. Once the last round has been completed, the boy’s voice will finally crack and he will become a man.
The Navajo girls’ rite of passage is almost like the transformation from a caterpillar to a butterfly. The right of passage begins after the girl’s first menstrual cycle and lasts four days. On the first morning of the girl transitioning into a woman, she will take baths, and dress in her finest clothing. Once the girl is ready, she will straighten her legs and arms. Her joints are smoothed, and her muscles are pressed to make her truly shaped. Before the ceremony, the girls have to eat only bread and mush. The girl should also not scratch her body or head with her nails because if she does, she will get very bad scars. It is important for girls to not get scars because that will damage their beautiful image and perfect skin. As a woman, it is important to be beautiful and to preserve your beauty in every way. Finally, when all of these things have been done, the girl will finally become a woman, and the village will throw a huge party and celebrate the girl coming of age.
The Navajo tribe is a very rich and interesting tribe because of all the rituals the girls and boys have. For a boy to become a man, he is taught songs and teachings inside of a sweat lodge and must go through several rounds of yelling. After the last round is completed, the boy’s voice will crack, and that will turn the boy into a man. The girls’ rite of passage takes a little longer than the boys’ and occurs after her first menstrual cycle. She prepares for four days, during which she eats bread and mush, takes baths, dresses in her finest clothes, and will have her joints and muscles smoothed and pressed into her true shape. Once all of these are completed, the girl will have transitioned into a woman. For both the girl’s and boys’ rite of passage, they celebrated with a party, which means that they have completed all the steps to becoming an adult member of the tribe. The celebration initiating the boys and girls into the tribe as an adult allows them to carry out activities they were not able to before. They are then merged with the rest of the tribe as adults.