Navajo Woman Entering Puberty
One of the most important events in my life that happened was when I became a woman. In my tribe, Navajo, the women who have their first menstruation usually have a ceremony to celebrate this special event. Most women do not celebrate this moment but rather are embarrassed but within my tribe it is celebrated. Once I told my mother of my menstruation, she was on the phone telling all my relatives. Then on with the planning with the weeks of event which would be held at my mom’s family home. Within the Navajo tribe, everything is matrilineal which means the tribe is female oriented. Our clans are based on the female’s clans not the males. This event is so special that I have never seen my father cry and that night he cried and hugged me telling me I am not his little girl anymore but a woman. I will always remember that night because of it.
The puberty ceremony is a week event and on the last day a ceremony dinner is made to the family who has helped through the week long ceremony. Throughout the week, there are several tasks that are done and are told of the significance of it so it tells me of what a strong Navajo woman is. Every morning, you run towards the east and each day you run a little farther. You are not the only one running but relatives mostly young people are yelling behind you which is telling everyone that I am transitioning into womanhood.
On the last night, the medicine man sings all night and you would stay up the whole night. It would also be the last morning to run and from that a special meal is made for the families to eat and celebrate the event. From then you are known as a woman and are responsible with all duties that are associated with being a woman.