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A Study of the Navaho Girl’s Puberty Ceremony
Charlotte Johnson Frisbie
Kinaaldá, the ceremony associated with the onset of a girl’s puberty, is an important Navajo rite within the Blessingway complex. Derived from the experiences of Changing Woman, the puberty ceremony has been passed through generations and continues to be observed throughout Navajoland.
An acknowledged classic, Kinaaldá remains the most complete "outsider" account of this important ceremony. Charlotte Frisbie’s lucid description takes the reader through the four-day ritual, describing sequence, daily activities, restrictions, observances that include the girl’s race toward the east, and an analysis of the ceremonial music, complete with notations and translation.
To give readers a better sense of why, Frisbie relates the beliefs and practices expressed in Kinaaldá to origin accounts conveyed by medicine people and to explanations and discussions with other Navajos.
Charlotte Frisbie is professor of anthropology and department chair at Southern Illinois University, Ewardsville.
Table of Contents:
Preface to the 1993 Edition
1. The Kinaaldá and Its Myth
• Attitude toward Pubescence
• Meaning of the Word "Kinaaldá"
• Classification of the Ceremony
• The Myth
• Frank Mitchell's Kinaaldá Myth (1963)
2. The Ceremony
• Events for a First Kinaaldá
• Events for a Second Kinaaldá
• Mythological Ordering of Events
• Procedural Outline
• Detailed Account of Marie Shirley's Kinaaldá
• The Kinaaldá of Lena Shirley
• Comparative Data on Kinaaldá
3. The Music
• General Discussion of Navaho Music
• Kinaaldá Music
4. The Kinaaldá in Its Cultural Complex
• Reasons for Kinaaldá
• Meaning of the Ceremony
• The Kinaaldá as an Exemplification of Navaho Religion
5. The Future of the Kinaaldá
B. Kinaaldá Myths
C. The Frank Mitchell Family as of 1964
D. Navaho Terminology Used in Kinaaldá
E. Recipe for 'Alkaan: Priscilla Becenti, Crownpoint
F. Points of Interest on the Navaho Reservation
G. Kinaaldá Materials in Mary Wheelright's Creation Chants
H. Key to Symbols Used in Transcriptions and Analyses
Praise and Reviews:
"A significant contribution to the study of Navaho religion."
“Intricately complete. The most complete imaginable presentation of a vitally important Navajo ceremony.”
—Books of the Southwest