Apache Female Puberty Sunrise Ceremony

What is the Apache Sunrise Ceremony?

The Apache Sunrise Ceremony or na'ii'ees is an arduous communal four-day ceremony that Apache girls of the past and present experience soon after their first menstruation. Through numerous sacred ceremonies, dances, songs, and enactments, the girls become imbued with the physical and spiritual power of White Painted Woman, and embrace their role as women of the Apache nation.

For most of the four days and nights, to songs and prayers, they dance, as well as run toward the four directions. During this time, they also participate in and conduct sacred rituals, receiving and giving both gifts and blessings, and experiencing their own capacity to heal.

In the early 1900s, when the U.S. government banned Native American spiritual practices and rituals, conducting the Sunrise Ceremony was an illegal act; as a result, its practice diminished, and those ceremonies that did occur were conducted secretly.

Not until 1978, when the American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed, was the Sunrise Ceremony openly re-established on most reservations. But even today, because of the expense and time involved - which also includes four days of preparation and four days of teaching and recovery - some girls celebrate for one or two days, rather than have four day ceremonies. The families of girls entering puberty in a particular year may also sponsor joint Sunrise ceremonies, in which two or more newly menstruating girls celebrate the rites of Changing Women together. (SOURCE)


Responses to "Apache Sunrise Ceremony: The Sacred Path To Womanhood (VIDEO)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great video, songs and glad to see the traditions alive!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    The unity and love of their community is overwhelming.

  3. Anonymous says:

    women are sacred. this right of passage should be preserved. that it was ever outlawed is a travesty, a cruel injustice to these people and their way of life.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What reservation is this? Is it White Mountain?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Can somebody give more information about the symbolism of the white colouring?

  6. Unknown says:

    Would enjoy more explanation of parts of the ritual, their meaning for the young ladies, especially the part where there are coated in white. Initially there was prep for a swear lodge and food being prepared for the several day ritual but never shown

  7. was beautiful ----brought me to tears

  8. Unknown says:

    So beautiful! Thank you for sharing! We as a people are so ever blessed in tradition and celebration of life.

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