Empowerment of North American Indian Girls: Ritual Expressions at Puberty


reviewed by Teresa L. McCarty September 16, 2008

coverTitle: Empowerment of North American Indian Girls: Ritual Expressions at Puberty
Author(s): Carol A. Markstrom
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln
ISBN: 0803232578, Pages: 456, Year: 2008
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What are the functions of girls’ coming-of-age ceremonies in Native North American societies?  This is the question taken up by developmental psychologist Carol A. Markstrom in Empowerment of North American Indian Girls, who notes on her Web site that her interest in Native peoples “was solidified through work with Ojibwe and Dakota Sioux families and adolescents in Minnesota and South Dakota” (http://www.hre.wvu.edu/cmarkstrom). Based on extended fieldwork among the San Carlos Apaches in east-central Arizona, briefer observations of girls’ puberty rites on the Mescalero Apache and Navajo reservations in the Southwest, interviews with Lakota and Ojibwe community members, and more general ethnohistorical research, Markstrom’s central argument is that the purpose of these ceremonies is not to ensure girls’ fertility, but rather to confer individual benefits on initiates while reinforcing kin and extra-kin ties and community values and spiritual beliefs. Symbolically and behaviorally, these processes help ensure cultural continuity and “society’s hope... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: September 16, 2008
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15376, Date Accessed: 10/18/2017 6:21:01 PM

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