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Charlotte Coté and Coll Thrush

Series Editors

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W e A r e Da nci ng
For You

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Native Feminisms and the Revitalization

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of Women’s Coming-of-Age Ceremonies
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C u tch a R isl i ng Ba l dy
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U n i v e r si t y of Wa sh i ngt on Pr e s s
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Seattle
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We Are Dancing for You was supported by a grant
from the Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund, which
provides the opportunity for a sustainable and
healthy community for all.

Copyright © 2018 by the University of Washington Press


Printed and bound in the United States of America
Composed in Charter, typeface designed by Matthew Carter
22 21 20 19 18  5 4 3 2 1

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All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any
form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any

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information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

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University of Washington Press

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www.washington.edu/uwpress ng
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data on file
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i s bn 978-0-295-74343-1 (hardcover), i s bn 978-0-295-74344-8 (pbk),


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i s bn 978-0-295-74345-5 (ebook)
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Parts of chapter 4 were previously published in “mini-k’iwh’e: n (For That Purpose—I


Consider Things): (Re)writing and (Re)righting Indigenous Menstrual Practices to
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Intervene on Contemporary Menstrual Discourse and the Politics of Taboo,” Cultural


Studies↔Critical Methodologies 17, no. 1 (2017): 21–29. Copyright © 2017 (SAGE
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Publications). https://doi.org/10.1177/1532708616638695.
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Cover illustration by Katrina Noble, from a photograph taken by Cutcha Risling Baldy.
Thank you to Dentilla Albers for inspiring the image.
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For all the kinahłdung who came before and
all the kinahłdung who will come after

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hay de:di ch’ilwa:ł ne’en
this  here  Flower Dance—used to be

k’ixinay na:’ilchwe’n

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immortal spirits  they are made again

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de:di  ninis’a:n ne’en

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here  world—used to be

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This is the Flower Dance held before human beings existed and

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the K’ixinay have re-created it. It was here in a former world.
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Con t en t s

Preface  ix
Acknowledgments  xv

I n t ro du c t ion

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‘A:diniw A’ydyaw ‘A:dit’e:n / We Do It, We Did It, We Are Doing It 3

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Chap t er 1
Dining’xine:wh-mil-na:sa’a:n / Hupa People—With Them—It Stays,

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There Is a Hupa Tradition

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Oral Narratives and Native Feminisms  28
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Ch ap t er 2
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Ninis’a:n-na:ng’a’ / The World—Came to Be Lying There Again,


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the World Assumed Its Present Position


California Indian History, Genocide, and Native Women  51
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Ch ap t er 3
Wung-xowidilik / Concerning It—What Has Been Told
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Anthropology and Salvage Ethnography  73


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Ch ap t er 4
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Tim-na’me / At the Lucky Spot She Bathes


Indigenous Menstrual Beliefs and the Politics of Taboo  100
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Chap t er 5
Xoq’it-ch’iswa:l / On Her—They Beat Time, a Flower Dance Is Held for Her
Revitalization of the Hupa Women’s Coming-of-Age Ceremony  124

C on clu si on
Hayah-no:nt’ik’ / It Reaches So Far, the Story Extends to There 148

Notes  153
Bibliography  175
Index  185

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Pr efac e

The Flower Dance is a dance that I wish all young women


could have—all Hupa women, Yurok women, Karuk women,
everyone. It’s not only important for the young woman but it’s
important for her family, and the community, and our belief

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system to have this ceremony. [This dance] does heal. That
kind of intensive trauma where women have been abused

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and mutilated both spiritually and emotionally and physically.
I think it does. I know it does. You are being celebrated as

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opposed to being demonized or looked down upon. This dance

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comes along and says, “I think enough about you that I’m
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going to, for ten days or five days, or whatever it is, I’m going
to sing over you every night. I’m going to make sure that you
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have a good experience.” That’s very, very positive. That’s


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very important, that I think you’re worth that.


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—Lois Risling (Hupa, Karuk, Yurok—and my mom)


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This book begins and ends with my mother. Lois Risling is a strong, powerful,
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often larger-than-life woman, the kind you wish you could be, or maybe are
glad that you don’t have to be. The things my mother said to me growing up
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have stuck with me as I navigated through the many life stages of being a
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Native woman in today’s society. My mother was there when I checked in for
my first day of college, and she helped move me into my first apartment (when,
true story, she hoisted a couch over the second-floor balcony when it wouldn’t
fit through my door); she was there when I got married, and she was there
when I gave birth. I am the first to admit that we did not get along well when
I was in high school. I relied a lot on my father, Steve Baldy, as a mediator
because he loved both of us and tried his best to help us get along. When I was
in college I often ignored my mother’s phone calls because I was convinced

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x P r e fac e

she’d only called to tell me something that I hadn’t gotten done from the long
list of things you should be getting done when you are an adult. But sometime
in my early twenties we began to talk more, and at some point I started calling
her my friend. Once I was interviewing for a job and the interviewer asked me,
“What is your greatest accomplishment in life?” I paused before I said to him,
“Learning to be friends with my mother.” He told me it was the best answer
he’d ever gotten to that question.
Growing up, I did not and most likely couldn’t have understood the inher-
ent exhaustion of raising a young Native woman in this contemporary settler
colonial culture and society. I remember trying to convince my mother that

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Columbus discovered America for Europeans, which had to count for some-
thing, right? In the fourth grade when we were learning about the missions,

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she insisted on coming to my classroom to teach students about California
Indian history. My grandmother came with her and we fed everyone salmon

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and acorns. In the seventh grade I started to cry every time she made me get

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in the car to go to a ceremony. This was mostly because I wanted to stay home
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and “be normal” and also because I was in love with the boy across the street
and just wanted to sit outside and talk to him all day.
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When I was twelve I started menstruating, and my mother insisted on tak-


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ing me out to dinner to celebrate. We went to a really fancy restaurant, which


I knew was fancy because they served Bananas Foster right at your table. Our
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waiter’s name was Gary. I’ll never forget it. And after he was done taking our
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orders, he asked my mother, “Are we celebrating anything today?” I was para-


lyzed. In my mind my mother was not only going to tell Gary all about my
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newfound womanhood, she was also going to pull a bunch of tampons out of
her purse and throw them at me while yelling, “Congratulations on your
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period!” Gary waited patiently until my mother said, “No, no. We are just a
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mother and daughter having a nice evening together.” I was safe. For the
moment.
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During dinner my mother told me about the Hupa women’s coming-of-


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age ceremony. She said, “In the old days, we would have done a Flower Dance
for you. The Hupa used to celebrate this time. It was very important to us, when
girls became women. We could do a dance for you now, if you’d like.” I wish I
had known at the time what she was offering. I wish I had known that the
dance had not been performed for many years. At one time the Flower Dance
was a principal dance of our tribe, but after the destruction and genocide of
the Gold Rush era, the influence of the boarding school, policies enforced by
the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the missionaries, and other lasting traumas of

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P r e fac e  xi

colonization, the Flower Dance was very rarely practiced, no longer the public
celebration it had once been.
Many of our ceremonies had survived. The Native peoples of Northwestern
California have a historical narrative where many scholars note that this
region was “relatively late” in being “contacted” by Western settlers. The Hupa
people fought very hard to keep their ceremonies and ways of knowledge and
are one of only a handful of Native peoples who still live on their Indigenous
land base where old stories say our people “came into being.” The Hupa (as
well as the surrounding Yurok and Karuk) come together for Brush Dances (to
heal or bless a child), White Deerskin Dances, and Jump Dances. The Hupa

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consider the White Deerskin Dance and the Jump Dance to be “high dances.”
These are the dances that are done for all time in the K’ixinay world.1 It is only

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when we call the dance to us that the K’ixinay stop these high dances so we
can do them on earth. The social-spiritual enactment of these practices was

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responsible for keeping the earth in balance and society thriving. During some

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of the harshest policies set forth to destroy Indian societies by specifically
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attacking Indian spirituality and religion, the Hupa were steadfast in their
continuance of the dances.
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The women’s coming-of-age ceremony was at one time an important public


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celebration of girls’ first menstruation, but with pressures of assimilation and


colonization Hupa people could no longer perform this ceremony for each
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young woman who started menstruating. Throughout the invasion of Califor-


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nia, Native American women were targets of devaluation and conquest, exploi-
tation and exclusion. At a point it became dangerous for Hupa people to do
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this dance. There were old stories about miners specifically targeting young
women in this dance by coming to the dance and taking the young woman to
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rape her. They said it was justified. They said that we were letting everyone
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know she was a woman now, which meant we were letting everyone know
that she was ready to have sex, willingly or unwillingly.
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Boarding schools and other government programs and agents specifically


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tried to teach us that this dance was bad, that it was part of our “primitive”
ways. This dance was tied to savagery and oppression of women. We were told
that our celebration of menstruation just proved that we were dirty, stupid,
primitive people. Why would you celebrate menstruation? Why would you
ever celebrate young women like that?
These are the many things that I did not consider when I was twelve years
old and my mother offered to do this dance for me. Her willingness to find
some way to revitalize and reclaim a dance that had been dormant for so many

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x ii P r e fac e

years was a moment of strength and power that I could scarcely grasp at the
time. And in response I said to her, “Eww, Mom, gross. I don’t want everyone
to know about my period. That’s just gross.”
My internalization of the Western menstrual taboo felt natural to me at the
time. I cannot specifically recall family members, teachers, or even other
adults telling me that menstruation was dirty, or polluting, or secretive, but
that was the message I internalized growing up as a young girl in modern
culture and society. This taboo, which tells young women and young men that
menstruation is meant to be kept secret and that knowing about someone’s
menstruation is embarrassing, is part of our everyday lives. We have entire

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industries designed to help women hide their menstruation, to control it not
just because it makes their lives easier but also because they can make sure

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nobody ever knows or has to acknowledge their menstruation. In my sixth-
grade sex education class, I remember that we were split up into boys and girls.

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I don’t know what the boys talked about; we were never privy to that informa-

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tion. But in the girls’ class we talked about feminine products, odors, and toxic
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shock syndrome. I felt no pride in menstruating because of these experiences.
There was no celebration of menstruation on TV; there were no moments
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where young girls talked fondly about their changing roles in life. Puberty
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itself was like a curse for adolescents. We heard so much about the negative
things that would to happen to us—acne, body odor, hair (everywhere)—but
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never about what this meant for our future and whom we could become.
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My mother made me tell my dad about my first menstruation but after that
agreed we could keep it a secret. She probably didn’t. She probably told every-
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one in our family, but I can’t remember anybody saying anything to me. I do,
however, recall that moment, the rejection of my mother’s efforts to instill in
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me a sense of pride and empowerment in my adolescence, as well as the rejec-


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tion of my own culture’s beliefs, quite often. It would stay with me as I tried to
maneuver through my young adult and then adult life.
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It would be many years later that my mother, along with several other
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women from my tribe, would work to revitalize the women’s ceremony in


Hoopa. They would pore over anthropological records and sit with elders,
gather with the other women and recall the songs my mother’s grandfather
had taught her. My mother spoke often about how important the ceremony is
to the continuance of our tribal people. She would tell me about the strides
they were making in piecing together a history that had been silenced, one
where our people celebrated menstruation and respected the role that women
had in culture, society, and community. After the first revitalized ceremony

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P r e fac e  xiii

was held in May 2001, for a young woman named Kayla Rae Carpenter (now
Begay), my mother called me on the phone and told me about the ice on the
water, the long night of singing, and that moment when Kayla emerged after
her ceremony was over. “She was glowing,” she told me. “You can even see it
in the pictures. She was bathed in light.”
It was a few years after my mother had helped to bring back the Flower
Dance in Hoopa that I called her on the phone because I was finally ready to
leave a violent relationship. Even with all these strong women in my life, all
these stories and reminders of my culture and history, I had been pinned up
against a wall with his finger in my face as he told me that I was worthless. He

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said, “Cutcha, nobody else will ever want you.” He said, “Cutcha, nobody else
will ever love you.” That night I was on the floor of our bathroom, and I picked

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up the phone and called my mom. I said, “Mom, I think I’m going to leave him.”
And she said, “I think you are making the right decision.” I responded, “No,

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Mom, he is right. I am nothing. I am worth nothing. And I will be nothing

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without him.” She paused for a long time before she told me, “Oh, Cutcha, we
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should have danced for you.”
This research, this book, began in that moment. I felt that sentence echo
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throughout my entire body, and it has stayed with me ever since. In that
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moment, as I slid down to the floor of the bathroom, I could finally see myself
in the mirror through the tears that were streaming down my face. I was weak
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and tired, but that did not mean I was alone. There were songs echoing in my
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head, songs that I had heard growing up and songs that I had never heard
before, and I thought about what it means when all of those voices sing together
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just for you. I sang to myself that night, and that’s what made me stand up, go
to the bedroom, and pack a bag. I sang to myself as I walked out the door. I
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sang to myself as I got in the car. But I wasn’t singing alone. I could hear the
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song in my head, and it echoed with voices from the many times I had heard
my grandmother, my mother, and my aunties sing these songs to me as I was
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growing up. Songs, stories, and research—they come to you. They say, “This
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is what you will do now.” I knew there was something important about our
women’s ceremonies. I knew that I would write about it and document the
words of the women who had joined together to tell our girls that they are
important. I would be reminded of this moment the first time I sang in a Flower
Dance, the shakiness of my own voice calling out into the night. There I was,
in my own way telling the young girl sitting just below me, “I am here. You
will never be alone. We are dancing for you.”

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Ack now l ed gm en t s

The long and often painful journey to publish this manuscript has reminded
me of the incredible strength and fortitude of Native people. As I was maneu-
vering the often arduous process of publication, community and family mem-
bers would stop to encourage, push, and declare they would be the first in line

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to buy my book once it hit the shelves. There was no doubt in their minds that
I would finish, and even when I worried that my words would not be able to

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capture the power and meaning of this ceremony, they would smile and say,
“It’ll be fine. If it’s not fine, if anyone tells you different, send them my way.”

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This book would not have been possible without the encouragement of com-

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munity members too numerous to mention. I must thank my Flower Dancing
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community, those who laugh at my funny songs and those who call out, “Sing
to us about Laytonville!” for the inspiration and good words.
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And of course to the kinahłdung who agreed to be interviewed: Kayla Rae


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Begay, Natalie Carpenter, Alanna Lee Nulph, Melitta Jackson, Deja George,
and Naishian Richards, I owe you a debt of gratitude far beyond the words on
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this page, and I hope you are as proud of your words and stories as I am. To
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Melodie George-Moore and Lois Risling, thank you for guiding these young
women and for providing our community with the foundations we will need
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to build strong Indigenous futures.


There are many mentors who provided guidance to help shape this project
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as well, including Ines Hernández-Ávila, Mishuana Goeman, and Beth Rose


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Middleton. I am grateful to Dean Lisa Bond-Maupin at Humboldt State for her


support of this book and to the editors at the University of Washington Press
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and Indigenous Confluences series for their guidance and work on the manu-
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script. I also want to acknowledge Ranjit Arab for his encouragement as I


started this process. I am so proud of the young woman who was the inspira-
tion for the artwork on the cover, Dentilla Albers. I am also grateful to Marlette
Grant-Jackson, Melitta Jackson, and photographer Trish Oakes for providing
additional options for the cover. I must also thank my many friends who read
drafts of the manuscript: Rachel Sundberg, Alicia Cox, Brook Colley, and Angel
Hinzo. And of course friends like Stephanie Lumsden, Vanessa Esquivido, Gina
Caison, and Lori Biondini, who were there to make me laugh and keep me

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x v i Ac k n ow l e d gm e n t s

sane. And to Melanie Yazzie, thank you for your time and for your kind words
of support when I most needed it. I extend my gratitude to my parents, Steve
Baldy and Lois Risling, for supporting me throughout my work on this project.
For my brothers, Eric, David, and Jeff, thank you for supporting me, my family,
and especially my daughter. I must also thank Viola Brooks for lending me her
songs which I often use in presentations and which have been inspirational to
my writing. And to my husband, Christopher Mettier, all the errands, delivered
meals, and text messages are the reason I have completed this book. Your love
and dedication mean the world to me.
Finally, Arya Barya. This morning I woke up and told you I was going to be

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at the office late again working on my book, and you reached out to me and
asked me to curl up next to you. Our puppy, Buffy, climbed out from the covers

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and put her head between us, and I rested my head on your shoulder while you
gently rubbed my hair. I kissed you and said, “This kiss represents a million

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billion kisses.” And without opening your eyes, you kissed me back and said,

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“This kiss represents a bazillion, gazillion kisses.” I don’t know if this was the
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first time in your young life that you were holding me—instead of me holding
you. But I could not have felt any safer or more assured that everything I have
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done, everything I do, and everything I will do is because your love and belief
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in me is enough to rebuild worlds.


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W e A r e Da nc i ng For You

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I n t roduc t ion

‘A:diniw A’ydyaw ‘A:dit’e:n


We Do It, We Did It, We Are Doing It

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There’s a few people who have said why they wanted this to

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happen. There are a few that have said that they want [the
girls] to have a chance, whatever that is. “I want them to have

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a chance at life.” And there’s a few who have said that they

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wanted this dance because they thought that it would create
certain things in their lives that didn’t already exist or that
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they wanted to have back broken households, or absent par-
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ents, or something like that. What are they responding to
then? They are responding to that circle. They are looking
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down and seeing into it. Because a lot of girls have seen this
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and then decided, that’s what I want.

—Melodie George-Moore (Hoopa tribal member,


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Karuk, Cherokee, Whilkut)


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It was a commitment that I had to choose, no one else per-


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suaded me to do it. I had to do it on my own. So I told myself,


“If you do this it will make you even twice as strong when
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you get older.” And I seen these ladies that did have a Flower
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Dance, and they’re pretty strong women now and I was like,
I want to be like that. I was like, I want that.

—Naishian Richards (Hupa, Yurok, Western Shoshone)

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4 I n t r oduc t ion

S h e i s ru n n i ng. S h e ta k e s a de e p br e at h a n d l i s t e n s t o t h e
water. In the distance behind her, she can hear the calls of the children, “Ha
ha! You run like a duck!” They giggle. She pushes forward. At the bathing spot
she will enter alone. The water will reach up to her shin, maybe just above,
and she will pause for a moment with just her, the river, and the K’ixinay.
The old ones said, “How she runs, that is how she will live her life.” And for
a moment she worries that maybe she can’t do it. What if she loses her way?
What if she falls?
“Then you get back up.” That’s the voice in her head. It probably sounds
like Melodie George-Moore, the medicine woman who helped her prepare for

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this day with a prayer and some laughter before she set out on her own. “Some-
times people fall. Sometimes they stumble. This is not about being perfect—

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this is about the person you want to be.”
She runs back out to the path and breathes in and out. The sand, the wind

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through the bushes, the sun-filled valley are all there to comfort her as she

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pushes forward. She sees the hill ahead of her and maybe she pauses—it’s just
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a hill. It’s just step by step, one foot in front of the other. And she begins.
At the end of this morning run I am there taking pictures. Naishian stands
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outside the Big House, the one we call the xontah-nikya:w, facing the doorway
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and pushing her arms in front of her, offering prayers that she will carry with
her.1 I stand back snapping stills of her bark skirt, her blue jay veil, and her
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sand-covered river shoes. Her skin is glistening.


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“She looks good.” My mother joins me. “Strong. She did good. You did good!”
It is early morning in the Hoopa Valley. There are a few people in camp,
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beginning their day with coffee and laughter. Melodie joins Naishian and pats
her on the back. “You did it. You see that. You did it.”
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Naishian smiles wide. She stands tall. In that moment I see her growing—
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so much so that later when I picture it in my mind, she will be towering over
us, standing mighty among the mountains where she embodies a kinahłdung,
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a Flower Dance girl.2


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“At one time, the women’s coming-of-age ceremony was a central dance
for my tribe, the Hoopa Valley Tribe in Northern California.” So begin most
papers, abstracts, and talks I give about my research on the revitalization of
women’s coming-of-age ceremonies and Native feminisms. It wasn’t until I sat
down to write this book that I began to take apart this statement for the assump-
tions I made about the nature of ceremony, culture, and Indigenous futures.
“At one time,” as if there had been a period of time, easily defined, when this

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I n t ro duc t ion5

dance was not central to who we are as Hupa people, as if narratives that had
been created by anthropologists and ethnographers detailing the “loss” and
“extinction” of this ceremony were true. As this research came together, it
became obvious that we had never lost this dance—it had gone dormant, also
a popular way to speak about Indigenous languages, those other pesky “dead
or dying” parts of Indigenous culture that just always refused to die.3
The narrative of loss is prevalent in discussions about Native people.4 We
are always losing something: our languages, our futures, our traditions, and
our cultures. In this story, if we haven’t lost these things, we are on our way
to losing them, one step away from an extinction that seems inevitable and

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also, improbably, accidental. Native peoples are always in the last stages of
existence. This is to solidify the settler colonial desire for an eventual inherit-

Pr
ing of this land, a rightful, uninhibited, ahistorical passing of ownership from
the poor, dying Indigenous to the stronger, healthier, more vibrant settler

n
colonial society.

to
This becomes the narrative that many are taught in classrooms, that is
ng
reflected in popular culture, and it remains ever so stubbornly central to much
of the scholarship written about Native nations—scholarship that now builds
hi

the foundations of law, policy, history, and acceptable rhetoric about Native cul-
as

tures and societies. It was thought that the research and documentation being
done by Western scholars were essential to preserving knowledge about Native
W

cultures before they disappeared into the annals of history. In the early twenti-
of

eth century, following some of the most violent periods of colonial history, many
anthropologists, archaeologists, linguists, and other scholars became interested
ity

in documenting Indian life to preserve what they perceived as a “dying culture.”


This phenomenon of salvage ethnography implied that Native cultures had
rs

been static in nature before contact, and therefore the once pristine, untouched
ve

Indian society would have no ability to survive the continuing intrusion of


Western culture nor change or adapt to a new way of life.5 Anthropology quickly
ni

became a discipline tasked not only with studying ancient human cultures but
U

also with documenting living Indigenous cultures around the world before they
vanished or became too assimilated to remember their rich and ancient pasts.
Though anthropologists usually relied on Native consultants as informants
for their work, it was anthropologists and archaeologists who became the
“experts” and “authorities” on Indigenous peoples. Subsequently, these scholars
were depended on as expert witnesses, and their ideas, theories, and findings
were given more weight and consideration than that of Indigenous peoples.6

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 5 3/7/18 2:44 PM


6 I n t r oduc t ion

The Western scholarly narrative of Indigenous women’s coming-of-age


ceremonies has been deeply influenced by the “vanishing Indian” story. We,
as contemporary Native peoples, had “lost” our women’s coming-of-age cer-
emonies, in some anthropological accounts, just before or soon after so-called
contact with Western civilization. According to cultural historian Harold
Driver, rituals for menstruation and coming-of-age “characterized by seclusion
and private rituals of cleansing, are nearly universal among North American
peoples.”7 According to Western scholars, these ceremonies, once public, foun-
dational parts of most every North American tribe, had become “extinct” as
part of the conquest and evolution of so-called primitive Indigenous people

s
es
through cultural, social, and spiritual assimilation.
Women’s ceremonies, aside from being written about as just another casu-

Pr
alty of manifest destiny, were also framed as having been willingly discarded
by Native peoples, who must have recognized these ceremonies as “a mark of

n
inferior cultural development.”8 The politics of taboo created by Western schol-

to
ars was heavily invested in justifying and normalizing Western heteropatri-
ng
archy by making women and their bodies “taboo.” This was meant to also
justify Western menstrual taboos as part of a “normal” progression of cultures
hi

from primitive to civilized. All Indigenous nations were said to have taboos
as

against women, their power, and their menstruation. These taboos supposedly
enforced isolation as important to maintaining the masculine/feminine binary
W

and disconnecting male from female. Anthropologists said there was a uni-
of

versal taboo against men valuing, understanding, and respecting menstrua-


tion, that the masculine in Indigenous cultures was prominent and pronounced,
ity

and by extension the feminine was isolated, hidden, and taboo.9


Most early anthropological theories of menstrual taboos were concerned
rs

with men’s reactions to women’s menstruation, positing that men were jealous
ve

of women’s menstruation, which is why they instilled menstrual taboos, or


that men had “castration anxiety” and did not like the presence of visible
ni

blood.10 Other anthropological theories attempted to trace the history of


U

taboos as being tied to women, and some anthropologists believed that it was
women who originated menstrual taboos and menstrual practices. In 1975
Elizabeth Gould Davis wrote that matriarchies were how cultures first orga-
nized politically and menstrual taboos were how women leaders kept order
in their societies.11 Some anthropologists argued that because early primitive
cultures begin as matriarchal (gradually moving toward a more patriarchal
society) the present-day treatment of women reflects the fact that “men hate
women because they were formerly subjugated by them.”12

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 6 3/7/18 2:44 PM


I n t ro duc t ion7

Western anthropological and historical findings, treated as cultural tru-


isms, portrayed Indigenous cultures as devaluing women. Our Native femi-
nisms were erased from the historical record, and they are still overlooked
by many contemporary scholars. Contemporary (re)writing and (re)righting
of our Indigenous epistemologies of gender equality are dismissed as utopian
visions because of a continuing settler colonial desire to render Indigenous
cultures as primitive, backward, and essentially obsolete. I view the revitaliza-
tion of women’s coming-of-age ceremonies as intervening in this discourse
and tangibly recapitulating Native feminisms not only in a modern context
but also as foundational to Native cultures and societies. Some scholars and

s
es
Indigenous peoples have insisted to me that epistemologies of Native femi-
nisms, self-determination, and decolonization, which I see as foundational to

Pr
Indigenous cultural ceremonies, are actually just modern reinscriptions of
ceremonial practices. The concern seems to be that approaching women’s

n
coming-of-age ceremonies as decolonizing praxis could become a conscription

to
of “liberal cultural values,” and that these ceremonies are actually modern
ng
interpretations of Indigenous ceremony and not “traditional” to Native cul-
tures and epistemologies. I do not intend to argue the merits of the “tra­ditional”
hi

versus the “modern.” I am looking instead at how revitalization of ceremony


as

is a (re)writing, (re)righting, and (re)riteing of Native feminisms.


(Re)writing and (re)righting are two decolonizing research projects dis-
W

cussed in Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s foundational text Decolonizing Methodologies:


of

Research and Indigenous Peoples. Smith notes that her work explores “the pos-
sibilities of re-imagining research as an activity that Indigenous researchers
ity

could pursue within disciplines and institutions, and within their own com-
munities.”13 She approaches an Indigenous language of critique “with a view
rs

to rewriting and rerighting our position in history.”14 In Mark My Words: Native


ve

Women Mapping Our Nations, Mishuana Goeman (Tonawanda Band of Sen-


eca) explains her framing of “re” within parentheses: “I use the parentheses
ni

in (re)mapping deliberately to avoid the pitfalls of recovery or a seeming return


U

of the past to the present.”15 She explains, “Recovery has a certain saliency in
Native American studies; it is appealing to people who have been dispossessed
materially and culturally. I contend, however, that it is also our responsibility
to interrogate our ever-changing Native epistemologies that frame our
understanding of land and our relationships to it and to other peoples.”16
Like Goeman, I am concerned with how best to illustrate that while projects
of (re)claiming, (re)writing, (re)righting, and (re)riteing are part of the very
ancient knowledges developed by Indigenous peoples, I am not advocating a

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 7 3/7/18 2:44 PM


8 I n t r oduc t ion

privileging of the past or a “return to the past,” but instead want to demon-
strate how these epistemologies are also modern philosophies of decoloniza-
tion that can build Indigenous futures. In putting (re) in parenthesis, I am able
to more fully demonstrate that Indigenous peoples are not just claiming and
writing in the present, but they are participating in a (re)vivification that
builds a future with the past, showing how these epistemological foundations
speak to a lasting legacy that is both ancient and modern.
Because these ceremonies are so intimately tied to Native feminisms, it is
through feminist analysis that I approach the building of this decolonizing
praxis. Mishuana Goeman and Jennifer Denetdale argue that “Native feminist

s
es
analysis is crucial if we are determined to decolonize as Native peoples.”17
They also discuss how there is not, nor should there be, one definition of Native

Pr
feminism. The multiple definitions and “layers” of feminist analysis are impor-
tant because Indigenous women come from many different nations and back-

n
grounds, and their experiences cannot be enveloped into one general “Native

to
feminist” theory. Native feminisms must critically analyze patriarchal struc-
ng
tures of authority and also work to decolonize and rebuild Native nations and
identities. There is a tremendous usefulness to Native feminisms as tools for
hi

(re)writing, (re)righting, and (re)riteing. Renya Ramirez argues that Native


as

feminism “has the potential to help indigenous men and women understand
the underlying causes of many social problems that plague our communi-
W

ties. . . . Native feminist consciousness could, furthermore, encourage both


of

sexes to rid themselves of dominant notions of masculinity and femininity,


building stronger senses of well-being and at the same time strengthening
ity

interpersonal bonds that sexist notions of proper gender relations erode.”18


Goeman argues that effective Native feminist practices “call into question
rs

and disorient colonial narrations,” and this is how I approach the analysis and
ve

discussion of women’s coming-of-age ceremonies.19 Women’s coming-of-age


ceremonies stand in direct contrast to the assertions made by Western scholars
ni

and anthropologists and articulate a tradition that disavows the politics of


U

taboo and demonstrates Native feminisms through ceremonial practices. The


analysis of women’s coming-of-age ceremonies as being primarily about “fertility”
or “reproduction” must necessarily give way to discourse that engages with these
ceremonies as demonstrations of Native feminisms that are foundational to
complex epistemological frameworks of decolonization, self-determination,
sovereignty, and survivance. Survivance is a term popularized in Native studies
by scholar Gerald Vizenor, who defines it as “an active sense of presence over
absence, deracination, and oblivion; survivance is the continuance of stories,

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 8 3/7/18 2:44 PM


I n t ro duc t ion9

not a mere reaction, however pertinent.”20 He continues, “Survivance stories


are renunciations of dominance, detractions, obtrusions, the unbearable senti-
ments of tragedy, and the legacy of victimry.”21 Women’s coming-of-age cere-
monies center empowerment of young women but also the community, which
builds a foundation for how Indigenous people enact their sovereignty and
self-determination by clearly including gender equality and the empowerment
and autonomy of women as part of the very foundation of culture and society.
These ceremonies are also a clearly developed praxis to discredit previous
scholarship and theories that conceptualized Native societies as patriarchal,
primitive, and oppressive of women. These ceremonies demonstrate how

s
es
women are foundational to their communities and make women’s experiences
central to nation building, culture, spirituality, and futurities.

Pr
This book explores the cultural revitalization of women’s coming-of-age
ceremonies to demonstrate how this revitalization articulates and supports an

n
Indigenous decolonizing praxis.22 These revitalizations are not just about the

to
young women or only for women in general; they are also focused on develop-
ng
ing a decolonized communal spirituality and society. In focusing on the (re)
riteing aspect of this project, I am exploring how ceremony combats the ever-
hi

present systemic gendered violence of settler colonialism and (re)rites systems


as

of gender in Indigenous communities through Indigenous ceremonies.


Critical Native feminisms remind us that we must be mindful of how tradi-
W

tion is articulated and that it is imperative to engage the impact of colonialism


of

and how it “shapes what we remember tradition to be.”23 This book aims to
establish that Native feminisms can provide an avenue to critique settler colo-
ity

nial ideologies of heteropatriarchy and heteropaternalism, and through the


revitalization of women’s coming-of-age ceremonies these Native feminisms
rs

can become embodied and once again tied to the spiritual and epistemologi-
ve

cal foundations of Native cultures and societies. I see Native feminist analysis
of this revitalization as enacting a (re)writing, (re)righting, and (re)riteing of
ni

ceremony to investigate “how the racialized category of ‘Indians’ administra-


U

tively was constructed through discourses of sexuality” and how a sustained


analysis of oral narratives, language, and spiritual and societal organization
through a Native feminist analytic can unsettle settler colonial claims to uni-
versality and legitimacy.24 Each chapter builds an analysis that demonstrates
how heteropatriarchy cannot be seen as tradition. Instead, what is demon-
strated through oral narratives (chapter 1), history (chapter 2), anthropological
records (chapter 3), and menstrual practices (chapter 4) is an epistemological
foundation of Native feminisms that must be central to a decolonizing praxis.

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 9 3/7/18 2:44 PM


10 I n t r oduc t ion

To begin a discussion of building a decolonizing praxis, I focus on Yakama


scholar Michelle Jacob and Athabaskan scholar Dian Million. Jacob’s work has
been particularly informative in understanding a tribally specific decolonizing
praxis. Jacob notes that in her community, Yakama cultural revitalization
efforts have two interconnected goals: “1) recovering traditional cultural prac-
tices, and 2) dismantling oppressive systems that harm our people, land, and
culture.”25 She notes that this decolonizing praxis is built “by drawing from
traditions to undermine settler-colonial-imposed hierarchies and reasserting
importance of spiritual relations between humans and our surroundings,” and
she argues that Yakama cultural revitalization efforts “represent a distinctive

s
es
indigenous feminist approach to ‘making power’ within our community.”26
This is very much how I see the revitalization of women’s coming-of-age cer-

Pr
emonies in Indigenous communities. It is through this type of praxis that we
see the power of Indigenous community epistemologies to address issues of

n
gender violence and the erasure of Native feminisms. I agree with both Jacob

to
and Million, who argue that it is only through understandings of Native femi-
ng
nisms that decolonization can be truly articulated and enacted. Women’s
coming-of-age ceremonies are a distinct type of decolonizing praxis that uti-
hi

lize Native feminisms as foundational to decolonizing Native communities.


as

The embodied and physical enactment of decolonization that happens through


ceremony is, as Lisa Kahaleole Hall argues, “intellectual, political, artistic,
W

and spiritual, and the reclamation of the colonized body is at the center of the
of

work.”27 Hall sees Native feminisms as being able to articulate this method of
decolonization through “reconstructing tradition and memory.”28 Women’s
ity

coming-of-age ceremonies articulate community-based methodologies of 1)


(re)writing, (re)righting, and (re)riteing Native feminisms; 2) articulating
rs

gender equality as foundational to sovereignty and self-determination; and 3)


ve

demonstrating the “felt” experience of decolonization as physical as well as


philosophical and spatial.29 For Native peoples, women’s coming-of-age cer-
ni

emonies build a foundation for each young woman of the tribe that solidifies
U

her autonomy by helping her to understand her most intimate self in a way
that is socially supported and encouraged.

Se t t l e r C ol on i a l i sm, Ge n de r , a n d C om i ng - of-Age

Settler colonialism, as defined by Patrick Wolfe, is a continuous set of struc-


tures designed to claim land and to do whatever is necessary to erase Indig-
enous claims to land, territory, and even history.30 Arvin, Tuck, and Morrill

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 10 3/7/18 2:44 PM


I n t ro duc t ion 1 1

note that settler colonialism is deeply intertwined and also depends on hetero­
patriarchal social systems “in which heterosexuality and patriarchy are per-
ceived as normal and natural and in which other configurations are perceived
as abnormal, aberrant, and abhorrent.”31 From the time of “first contact,”
explorers and settlers were particularly obsessed with the Native female body.
Early travelers’ tales about the Americas mimicked those told by explorers of
other far-off exotic lands. Anne McClintock argues that this centuries-old
“European lore” eroticized the Americas and Native peoples through “visions
of the monstrous sexuality of far-off lands, where as legend had it, men sported
gigantic penises and women consorted with apes.”32 She deems the Americas

s
es
a “porno-tropics” for the European imagination where Europe “projected its
forbidden sexual desires and fears.”33 The taming of the Native body, there-

Pr
fore, was built from assumptions and folklore that shaped how the Western
settler saw the world. At first this obsession was to both objectify and make

n
primitive the Native female, to make her what Andrea Smith calls “inherently

to
violable” so that the rape, murder, and disregard for her body was not morally
ng
objectionable because “it simply didn’t count.”34
The settler colonial nation-state was formed through a gendered process
hi

that was deeply tied to heteropatriarchy and heteropaternalism. I am applying


as

Arvin, Tuck, and Morrill’s definition of heteropaternalism from their 2013


article, where they write: “By heteropaternalism, we mean the presumption
W

that heteropatriarchal nuclear-domestic arrangements, in which the father is


of

both center and leader/boss, should serve as the model for social arrange-
ments of the state and its institutions. Thus, both heteropatriarchy and het-
ity

eropaternalism refer to expressions of patriarchy and paternalism that rely


upon very narrow definitions of the male/female binary, in which the male
rs

gender is perceived as strong, capable, wise, and composed and the female
ve

gender is perceived as weak, incompetent, naïve, and confused.”35 It was clear


to invading settlers that Native women were important to the foundation
ni

and continuation of Native cultures and societies. This was demonstrated in


U

many ways in Native American cultures, not the least of which was elaborate
­women’s coming-of-age ceremonies and rituals for menstruation. Many Indig-
enous menstrual customs conceptualize menstruation not as being about
taboo or pollution but instead as being intimately tied to power and respon-
sibility. In their cross-cultural study of menstrual practices, Thomas Buckley
and Alma Gottlieb determine that “many menstrual taboos, rather than pro-
tecting society from a universally ascribed feminine evil, explicitly protect the
perceived creative spirituality of menstruous women from the influence of

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 11 3/7/18 2:44 PM


1 2 I n t r oduc t ion

others in a more neural state, as well as protecting the latter in turn from the
potent, positive spiritual force ascribed to such women. In other cultures men-
strual customs, rather than subordinating women to men fearful of them,
provide women with means of ensuring their own autonomy, influence and
social control.”36
Native women also held leadership positions as medicine women and rega-
lia owners. As Dian Million notes, “In many Indigenous traditions of customary
law, women figure as the embodiment of the relations that configure order to
the community, the community’s relationship to the earth and to life.”37 The
settler colonial system is then built not only to eliminate Native societies but

s
es
also to continuously reinforce heteropatriarchal social norms.38 Mark Rifkin
argues that laws meant to police and subdue Native peoples are organized as

Pr
ideological and institutional structures of heteronormativity and compulsory
heterosexuality.39 And Chris Finley extends this, arguing that “heteropatriar-

n
chy and heteronormativity should be interpreted as logics of colonialism.”40

to
The logics of colonialism at play throughout settler colonial invasion can be
ng
interpreted as consistent attacks on nonheteronormative and nonhetero­
patriarchal cultures of Native peoples. In these cultures and societies, where
hi

women exercised autonomy—could serve as leaders, could marry, divorce,


as

and own property—and menstruation was venerated and celebrated, Native


societies were conceptualized as not only primitive but oppressive to men. As
W

Finley notes, “Native men are seen as sterile members of a dying race that
of

needs a ‘genetically superior’ white race to save it from the ‘unavoidable’


extinction.”41 The legal/historical relationship of the government to Indian
ity

tribes, especially in relation to sovereignty, became intimately tied to gender


with colonizers intent on transforming Indigenous societies by “diminishing
rs

Indigenous women’s power, status and material circumstances.”42 Menstrua-


ve

tion is conceived as a “curse” in Western culture, and Indigenous women’s


coming-of-age ceremonies that celebrated a woman’s first menstruation
ni

aggrieved settlers, who saw these practices of celebration as particularly det-


U

rimental to the settler colonial project because they demonstrated the power
to resist settler ideals of domesticity and assimilation. A significant aspect of
settler colonialism involves the attempts at, in the words of Scott Morgensen,
“erasure of gendered and sexual possibility.”43 These ceremonies were clear
demonstrations of “gendered and sexual possibility” that challenged the very
fabric of settler colonial culture and society.
To explore settler colonialism, gender, and coming-of-age, my focus
throughout this text is on California Indian history, tribes, and tribal cultures.

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 12 3/7/18 2:44 PM


I n t ro duc t ion 1 3

There has been considerable interest in revitalization of women’s coming-of-


age ceremonies in many Indigenous nations and in California especially,
where a number of revitalizations of women’s coming-of-age ceremonies have
happened over the past ten to fifteen years. In California, Native women’s
ceremonies were at one time so common, famed anthropologist Alfred Kroe-
ber wrote that “probably every people in California” practiced these ceremo-
nies, which, according to Kroeber, makes these ceremonies part of the “generic
or basic stratum of native culture.” 44 California’s postinvasion history is
framed by genocide with the aim of total annihilation of California Indian
peoples. The population of California Indians was reduced by 90 percent dur-

s
es
ing this period and resulted in what many California Indians referred to as
“the end of the world.”45 Hupa scholar Jack Norton refers to California at this

Pr
time as a “deranged frontier.”46 In the face of any perceived threat to the set-
tlers’ access to gold, land, and right-of-way, settlers responded with violence

n
and murderous rampages, burning of villages, and indiscriminate attacks. The

to
story of California Indians provides a key opportunity to understand the
ng
effects of genocidal practices on Native feminisms and how the continuing
policies of the federal government, in particular, targeted these feminisms in
hi

Native societies. The history of California Indians demonstrates the general-


as

ized attempts to eradicate Native feminisms throughout the Western Hemi-


sphere and also demonstrates how Native feminisms remained a key part of
W

ongoing survivance.
of

The types of gender violence experienced by California Native women dur-


ing this time illustrate how the colonial project viewed the subjugation of
ity

Native women as essential to the subjugation of Native societies and Native


land. In a settler colonial mentality, Native Women are targeted because of
rs

their ability to reproduce.47 Native women also represented a threat to the


ve

culture and societal organization of European colonizers. This gendered vio-


lence, however, was aimed not only at the destruction of Native peoples but
ni

also at enforcing a strict gendered lifestyle based on Western social construc-


U

tions of masculinity and femininity. The so-called loss of women’s ceremonies


was not, as had been implied, benign or happenstance; instead it was accom-
plished through depraved gendered violence because the heteronormative
settler colonial society needed to eradicate challenges to heteronormative
order. These revitalizations, along with the fact that these ceremonies contin-
ued to be part of the cultural and spiritual imagination and stories of Native
peoples, are testaments to the resilience of Native peoples and their continued
survivance despite this gendered violence.

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 13 3/7/18 2:44 PM


14 I n t r oduc t ion

Following this genocide in California, federal, state, and local governments


continued efforts to solve the “Indian problem” by passing policies and laws
aimed at assimilating Native people primarily through molding them into an
ideal of Western, Christian, heteropatriarchal norms. The assimilation efforts
of the government postinvasion were particularly obsessed with the regula-
tion of the Native female body as a means to forward the “progress” of Native
people toward a more westernized society. For these historical projects of
assimilation, it would be the reinforcement of Victorian standards and ideals
of domesticity that would serve to change how Native women understood their
role in culture and society, as well as how Native men treated women and

s
es
understood their role in contemporary Native nations. Dian Million refers to
this as “regulatory violence,” explaining that “it is a regulatory violence that

Pr
coalesces in the evisceration of Indigenous women’s constitutive power to
inform their own Indigenous nations.”48 Native lives became regulated and

n
bureaucratized, and the systemic and institutional violence inherent to the

to
settler colonial society became part of a “normal” everyday existence.
ng
The Assimilation and Allotment Era (1871–1934) encompassed policies of
removal, federal boarding school education, and the Dawes Allotment Act,
hi

all of which included and resulted in gendered attacks on Native peoples and
as

their ability to combat violence in their communities. Allotment was tied to


changing the social makeup of Indian societies, with a specific concern for
W

familial and marital practices. It was “designed to encourage proper marital


of

relations while placing married couples in the appropriate spatial configura-


tion of private property.”49 Allotment specifically reflected white middle-class
ity

cultural expectations of male-headed households, and married Native women


received no property in the allotment process, as it was assumed that a mar-
rs

ried woman would share the household with her husband and did not need
ve

property of her own. This was in direct contrast to many Native American
cultures, where women could own and decide how to use and manage their
ni

own property.
U

Boarding schools, which attempted to assimilate Native children and cre-


ate a working underclass of Native people, were also a mechanism by which
to control Indian women and to normalize violence and surveillance of their
bodies. The enforcement of Western femininity and masculinity in boarding
school programs was not peaceful or passive, but more often involved violent
and repeated violations of Native children through inappropriate surveillance
and also physical violations of their bodies. Survivors of the boarding school

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 14 3/7/18 2:44 PM


I n t ro duc t ion 1 5

experience report that they were victims of rampant physical and sexual abuse
often perpetuated by boarding school officials, teachers, and government
agents.50 There was also, among boarding school agents, an obsession with
menstruation and the reconfiguring of menstrual practices among Indian
peoples. The belief was that young Indian children were prone to sexual activ-
ity, and this was one of the reasons why they were separated and also why the
matrons kept extensive records of girls’ menstrual cycles.51 Whereas the onset
of menstruation used to be a time of celebration, it was now treated as a disease
and disorder and also confirmation of the lowly status of Native women.
While the assimilative efforts of the government were designed to eradi-

s
es
cate menstrual customs and women’s ceremonies from tribal cultures, there
was also a clear erasure of these practices from the historical record or primi-

Pr
tivization of these practices, in part to justify their eradication. Anthropologist
Alfred Kroeber drew the conclusion in his work that “poor and rude tribes

n
make much more of the adolescence ceremony than those possessed of con-

to
siderable substance,” but he also notes that this ceremony was a “principal”
ng
ceremony for the Northwest Coast tribes.52 While this discourse is incredibly
problematic, it is important to understand how this narrative was built in order
hi

to locate how certain assumptions about women, coming-of-age, and men-


as

struation in Indigenous cultures have become cultural truisms and how the
(re)writing, (re)righting, and (re)riteing of these epistemologies can contribute
W

not only to a decolonizing praxis that understands Indigenous coming-of-age


of

ceremonies as complex philosophies but also as evidence of a culture that


valued Native feminisms, menstruation, and coming-of-age much differently
ity

than Western culture and society.


It has always been my intention not to document the revitalization of wom-
rs

en’s coming-of-age ceremonies as an anthropological or ethnographic record


ve

of how to perform the ceremony but instead to allow Native women to testify
to the power of ceremony and Indigenous knowledges. In exploring previous
ni

research on Native women, coming-of-age, menstruation, and culture, many


U

texts still rely on the archive (written mainly from the perspective of white
males). They also do not attempt to engage these ceremonies as complex epis-
temologies or even as important tools in development or healing. Developmen-
tal psychologist Carol Markstrom notes in her literature review of North
American Indian coming-of-age ceremony texts and narratives, “Examination
of these and other impacts of the Sunrise Dance and puberty ceremonies of
other North American Indian cultures have remained largely unexamined.”53

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 15 3/7/18 2:44 PM


16 I n t r oduc t ion

Markstrom notes that one exception is the work done by Anne Keith in 1964,
in an article titled “The Navajo Girls’ Puberty Ceremony: Function and Mean-
ing for the Adolescent.” Keith explores changes in how girls perceive them-
selves in relation to their family and community and ultimately concludes
that a Navajo girl’s self-concept changes during the coming-of-age ceremony.54
Several Indigenous women scholars have also made an effort to foreground
contemporary Native voices to interrogate the archive through a Native femi-
nist lens and bring forward a more nuanced view of Indigenous coming-of-
age-ceremonies. Kim Anderson (Cree/Metis) has written A Recognition of
Being: Reconstructing Native Womanhood and Life Stages and Native Women:

s
es
Memory, Teachings and Story Medicine, both of which foreground interviews
with Indigenous women to demonstrate the central role women have in the

Pr
health and success of Indigenous communities. Anderson writes about how
Indigenous peoples were forced to practice their coming-of-age ceremonies

n
in secret and how important it was for them to continue to revitalize these

to
practices. She writes, “I wonder how different our communities might look
ng
if we honored all young girls for their sacredness and their potential, and if
we granted the wise ‘old ladies’ the role they once had in governing their
hi

­families and communities.”55 She believes that this reconnection will come
as

from stories, which is why she has foregrounded the stories of Indigenous
women in her work.
W

Paula Gunn Allen, a foundational Laguna Pueblo scholar, wrote The Sacred
of

Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions, which clearly


supports a “Native feminism.” Allen identified as a feminist scholar. She
ity

believed that “a feminist approach reveals not only the exploitation and
oppression of the tribes by whites and white government but also areas of
rs

oppression within the tribes and the sources and nature of that oppression.”56
ve

Ines Hernández-Ávila’s (Nez Perce/Tejana) works are meditations on the deep


spirituality of Native traditions. She weaves prayer, poetry, and story through-
ni

out to discuss how Native peoples are reclaiming spiritual traditions, including
U

those that are focused on coming-of-age and women. Ines Talamantez, a Mes-
calero Professor of Religious Studies, is by far the leading scholar in Native
women’s coming-of-age ceremonies. She has a deep and personal tie to her
own culture’s continued practice of these ceremonies and has been an impor-
tant voice in engaging these ceremonies as complex epistemologies that move
far beyond “puberty rites.”
Like these important Indigenous women scholars, I have chosen to create
a space that includes historical, anthropological, and tribal texts, as well as

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 16 3/7/18 2:44 PM


I n t ro duc t ion 1 7

oral interviews, histories, and personal contemporary accounts of these com-


ing-of-age practices. As Mohawk scholar Audra Simpson notes, “Within Indig-
enous contexts, when the people speak for themselves, their sovereignty
interrupts anthropological portraits of timelessness, procedure, and function
that dominate representations of their past and, sometimes, their present.”57
I am conscious of and explore further the critique offered by Native feminist
scholars of how “tradition” can be used to justify continued heteropatriarchal
policing of women in contemporary Native societies. Jennifer Denetdale’s
work on the Miss Navajo Nation pageant has informed my discussion of revi-
talization because I have also experienced how concepts like “purity,” “moth-

s
es
ering,” and “morality” are used in the name of tradition to continue to elevate
European Victorian ideals.58 I provide throughout this text an intervention

Pr
into this discourse by showing the many ways these values are antithetical to
a sustained analysis of Native culture and epistemologies.

n
My contention is that through this in-depth analysis of cultural revitaliza-

to
tion as decolonizing praxis we see how Native nations are able to challenge
ng
settler colonialism through Native feminisms and build revitalization move-
ments that not only imagine decolonized alternatives but also acknowledge
hi

that these alternatives did, have always, and will always exist. Decolonization
as

theory asks us to not think of decolonization as “metaphor” but to instead bring


decolonization into the tangible.59 It is through ceremony that decolonization
W

is physically, emotionally, and communally demonstrated as rooted in Indig-


of

enous epistemologies of self-determination and gender balance. We were


always self-determining nations and peoples—not just in a legal sense but in a
ity

way that built spiritual autonomy as much as community, independence as


much as interdependence. Jack Forbes writes that the respect Native nations
rs

show for “self-determination” is “both for individuals and for collectives”


ve

(emphasis his).60 He further notes that this is a respect for “being able to follow
one’s own path,” which “is at the heart of what we mean by intellectual self-
ni

determination and sovereignty.”61 Cultural ceremonies demonstrate an


U

emphasis on self-determination that stresses not only community but also


individual responsibility and choice. This is an Indigenous understanding
of self-determination, which shows how these concepts can, in the words of
Taiaiake Alfred, “shift to give primacy to concepts grounded in our own cul-
tures.”62 As we move to ground our Native futures in culture, we can build
Native futures with strong, self-determined, sovereign peoples, who, while
unsettling settler colonial impositions and taboos, also show that these spaces,
these bodies, and this land were never as “settled” as was once believed.

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18 I n t r oduc t ion

T h e Ho opa Va l l e y T r i be a n d C u lt u r a l R e v i ta l i z at ion

The Hoopa Valley Tribe knows they have been in their aboriginal territory
from time immemorial.63 In the Hupa world, the Hoopa Valley is the center,
and all trails return to the valley, where the Ta’na:n-na:niwe:sile’n (now
known as the Trinity River) is the heart of the land and the people. The Hupa
call the valley Na:tini-xw, “where the trails return” and they call themselves
Na:tinixwe, “the people of the valley.” The valley is a lush, fertile landscape.
It is surrounded by trees and creeks. The mountains reach tall into the sky.
Over the past few years, the Trinity River has suffered from the constant sei-

s
es
zure of water by the Central Valley farmers and State of California, and the
continued maintenance of the dam, which keeps the river unseasonably low,

Pr
but in good years the river is clear, cool, and a place of great social, spiritual,
and cultural importance. The world renewal ceremonies are held along the

n
river; the Boat Dance, which is a key part of world renewal, requires that the

to
Hupa navigate in canoes down the river while dancing and singing. For a num-
ng
ber of years, because of the continued seizure of water by outside interests,
the Hupa have been forced to ask for water to be released so that they can
hi

perform this ceremony and help to maintain the balance of the world.
as

Hupa medicine woman Melodie George-Moore told me in an interview how


powerful the valley is for Hupa people.
W
of

Physically it is geographically one of the hardest places to get to because of


the roads being difficult. In the middle of winter even, we have, still to this
ity

day, slides that cut us off from the outside world, and so it’s difficult to get
here physically. That is probably what protected a lot of our ceremonies and
rs

a lot of our ideas and a lot of our culture and language that we still have. . . .
ve

The term na:tini-xw, which would be “the place where the trails return,” is
very apropos because a lot of people feel compelled to come back here, to
ni

do ceremonies, to do retirement, to do pilgrimages; a lot of people feel com-


U

pelled to come here. It’s part of the medicine of the place, I think.64

The modern Hoopa Valley reservation is the largest in California, covering


144 square miles in the far northern region of the state, around 350 miles north
of San Francisco. The reservation includes a small town with a post office, a
recently closed grocery store, a hamburger stand, a small casino, hotel, and
museum, among other small businesses. The valley where the reservation is
located is within the aboriginal territory of the Hupa. There were several

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 18 3/7/18 2:44 PM


I n t ro duc t ion19

attempts to displace, remove, and assimilate the Hupa people, but each of these
efforts was resisted, and the Hupa remain in their valley to this day.
The Hupa also fought very hard to keep their ceremonies and ways of knowl-
edge. Government agents and soldiers stationed in Hoopa often wrote that
there was no stopping the Hupa people from continuing to practice their “primi-
tive” ways.65 This form of resistance would help our people survive and also
retain the valley where old stories say we “came into being.” This was despite
the continued and ever-present genocide that was happening in California, and
the many attempts to move, destroy, and change the Hupa way of life.
For the Hupa, the introduction of the gender violence that was part of

s
es
colonization would ultimately influence the continued practice of our world
renewal ceremonies, and though we were able to maintain the uninterrupted

Pr
public practice of the Jump Dance and the Deerskin Dance, the Flower Dance,
our women’s coming-of-age ceremony, became a suppressed and little-­

n
practiced ceremony. Famed photographer Edward Curtis visited the Hoopa

to
Valley as part of his twenty-volume ethnographic photography book project
ng
in 1920. Curtis writes of the Hupa that “the puberty ceremony for girls was
observed as late as 1914, and possibly since then. It had been opposed and
hi

nearly stamped out by authorities, because, in response to the inquiries of


as

soldiers at the post, an old Indian, doubtless wishing to curry favor by enter-
taining them with obscenities, informed them that on such occasions all the
W

men had access to the girl. Such a statement of course is unfounded. The cer-
of

emony was held very sacred.”66 This type of rumor mongering and attempts
to delegitimize the Hupa women’s coming-of-age ceremony were part of an
ity

ongoing settler colonial desire to justify the violence against women that was
a part of colonization.
rs

In Hoopa the ceremonial dances that were consistently practiced after


ve

invasion by Western settlers were mainly those featuring men singing and
dancing. In the 1980s noted musicologist Richard Keeling, who wrote exten-
ni

sively on the music of the Hupa ceremonies, observed, “The three main dances
U

in modern ceremonial life are the Deerskin Dance, the Jump Dance, and the
Brush Dance, and male singers dominate in each of these contexts.”67 The
Xonsił-ch’idilye (White Deerskin Dance) and the Xay-ch’idilye (Jump Dance)
are often referred to as the world renewal ceremonies of the Hupa people.68
The Deerskin Dance and the Jump Dance have been rigorously researched by
ethnographers, anthropologists, and musicologists. Anthropologists referred
to these two dances as central to what they called a “world renewal cult.” This
cult was centralized in Northwest California, as most every tribe in this area

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 19 3/7/18 2:44 PM


20 I n t r oduc t ion

came together in these ceremonies to set the world back into balance. For the
Jump Dance and Deerskin Dance, Alfred Kroeber and Edward Gifford identify
these two dances as being of utmost importance to world renewal because
“there is a single word which denotes the performing of either dance in distinc-
tion from all other kinds or ways of dancing—a word, in short, meaning ‘world
renewal dance’ or ‘major dance’ only.”69 The word Kroeber and Gifford are
referring to in Hupa is ch’idilye.70 This term is used to describe the dances and
also to tie them to the K’ixinay afterworld or the ch’idilye:-wint’e:-ding.71 The
only other dance that is done in the ch’idilye:-wint’e:-ding is the Ch’iłwa:l, or
Flower Dance, which is the women’s coming-of-age ceremony.72 This inclusion

s
es
of the women’s coming-of-age ceremony as part of these world renewal cere-
monies is a significant indicator as to how Hupa people valued the role of

Pr
women in their culture and spirituality.
The Hupa women’s ceremony lasts for three, five, or ten days and is held

n
after a girl starts menstruating. The ceremony is a public celebration that

to
includes specific practices and ritual guidelines for the young girl. This cer-
ng
emony is particularly important to the Hupa people, as it was thought that
the girl’s behavior during these days “would influence her destiny throughout
hi

life.” 73 Many aspects of the dance demonstrate this value. Running is a sig-
as

nificant part of the daily ritual activities, as it is believed that how the young
woman runs demonstrates how she will live her life. During the day she is
W

attended by visiting women who offer advice; she is taught songs, prayers,
of

and skills by older women. She ceremonially bathes in the river and steams
with herbs each day. As she picks herbs for her steam bath, she must grind
ity

them in a deliberate way. This kind of meaning and metaphorical representa-


tion can be found throughout the ceremonial practices. The Hupa value the
rs

community and public aspect of this ceremony. There is no shame in the


ve

celebration of a first menstruation, and bringing the community together


illustrates to the girl (and the community) how important these young women
ni

are to the tribe and culture.


U

While many of the ethnographic records available about the Hupa have
focused on the roles of men as leaders, women were and are cultural, spiritual,
and political leaders as well. Hupa culture, epistemologies, and cultural prac-
tices clearly demonstrate how the tribe was socially constructed around gender
equality prior to invasion by settlers. Hupa women held leadership positions,
they were medicine women, they were primary caretakers, they could own
property, they could decide to divorce, and they could exercise autonomy in

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I n t ro duc t ion 2 1

all parts of their lives. This autonomy is clearly demonstrated in the menstrual
practices that were a part of Hupa culture and society.
Settler colonial society set out to reconfigure Hupa culture to conform to
Western patriarchal practices through coercion and assimilation policies and
programs. In Hoopa, this has resulted in a shift in cultural perceptions of
women’s importance to Hupa society. When asked, “How do you think the lack
of a Flower Dance has [affected] a woman’s role in the community today?”
Hoopa tribal member and medicine woman Lois Risling offered the follow-
ing response: “I think it’s had a deep impact. I think that we think of women
as second-class citizens. Sometimes, I think people forget women are their

s
es
mothers, or sisters, and cousins, and family members. We have kept most of
the ceremonies that highlight the position of men and pushed women out.”74

Pr
The revitalization of the Ch’iłwa:l, therefore, has provided a very poignant
methodology for combating issues of gender and societal imbalance and the

n
introduction and adoption of misogyny into Hupa cultural practices and epis-

to
temologies. Decolonization, as discussed by the medicine woman for the
ng
Hupa (Melodie George-Moore) and those who participate in the Ch’iłwa:l, is
conceptualized as an embodied decolonization. Our dancing, singing, and
hi

support of the young woman in the ceremony extend our understanding of a


as

decolonized view of women in ceremony. We, as a community, are (re)writing,


(re)righting, and (re)riteing the roles of women, menstruation, and gender
W

balance.
of

My experience with the Ch’iłwa:l has made it clear that (re)riteing must
be a central aspect of decolonizing methodologies. The inspiriting of this
ity

methodology, and the acknowledgment of how important the spiritual is to


this decolonizing praxis, are central to this work. In the case of the Hupa, the
rs

only other dance performed in the ch’idilye:-wint’e:-ding is the Ch’iłwa:l—the


ve

women’s coming-of-age ceremony. So, as Risling explains, if you don’t have


the Ch’iłwa:l,
ni
U

a part of that base is missing, a part of that belief system is missing. We


believe that in the, for lack of a better word, the heavens but in the sky or
to the south and to the north and to the east or upriver, downriver, away
from the river—in those cardinal directions you have people dancing and
you have K’ixinay immortals dancing in one direction the Jump Dance, in
another direction the Deerskin Dance and in the other direction the Flower
Dance. And they dance these dances until we dance them and call them

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 21 3/7/18 2:44 PM


22 I n t r oduc t ion

down. So if that’s true, we need to make sure, and we know it’s true, we need
to make sure that all of those ceremonies are done because they make up our
whole epistemological base, they make our whole belief system, and to make
it whole we need to have those cere­monies done.75

While the Ch’iłwa:l was infrequently practiced for a number of years fol-
lowing invasion and then occupation by settlers, this does not mean the dance
did not continue as an active part of the Hupa cultural imagination. Though
there had been consistent pressures and dangers associated with the continu-
ing practice of this ceremony, Hupa elders pushed for a revitalization and

s
es
refused to forget that this ceremony is a central part of Hupa culture. Some
individual dances were performed in 1975 and 1980, but these were not the

Pr
public ceremonies they had once been. Hupa elders like Alice Pratt, Herman
Sherman Sr., Ray Baldy, Rudolph Socktish, SuWorhrom David Risling Sr., and

n
many others would continue to document, record, and tell stories about the

to
Ch’iłwa:l well into the start of the new millennium, until finally a young
ng
woman by the name of Kayla Rae Carpenter (now Begay) agreed to have the
ceremony performed for her as a public and communal celebration of her
hi

first menstruation. The first revitalized dance happened in the Hoopa Valley
as

in May 2001.
I focus on the Hupa revitalization not only because of my personal ties to
W

the community, but also because I began this research ten years after the mod-
of

ern revitalization of the dance, and I experienced firsthand the many positive
influences this ceremony has had on our people. I decided that I wanted to
ity

interview the young women who had participated in this revitalization as


kinahłdung during that first decade. I have aimed in this case to discuss not
rs

only how the Hupa succeeded in this revitalization but also why this revitaliza-
ve

tion has been so important to our community.


I foregrounded interviewing the women who were tied to this revitaliza-
ni

tion, although men are also important to the praxis and revitalization of this
U

ceremony. It has become obvious as I delve more into this work that this
dance, though called a “women’s ceremony,” is really about bringing together
a community to celebrate a young woman’s coming-of-age. It is not just about
empowering women to support and build a community praxis of decoloniza-
tion, but instead about a gender-balanced approach to this decolonizing praxis.
To foreground the young women and women’s voices was important for me,
however, because I wanted to explore how these Hupa women were leading
the way in what Ines Hernández-Ávila calls “subversion and creative agency”

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 22 3/7/18 2:44 PM


I n t ro duc t ion 2 3

by making Native women central as subjects. When Native women are central,
as Hernandez-Avila notes, they are “sovereign subjects” who “unsettle, dis-
rupt,” and claim the right to “speak for ourselves.”76 For this reason I not only
engaged in rigorous scholarly research of archival and ethnographic materials
but also worked with methodologies that focus on informed community-based
research that does not treat decolonization as metaphor but articulates a tan-
gible means by which to decolonize Native communities through storytelling
and ceremony so that we can be healthier, vibrant peoples.77
My role in this cultural revitalization has been not only as a participant
and community member but also as a researcher who must consider what role

s
es
writing about this revitalization should have in supporting this community-
based decolonizing praxis. Native scholars have joined in (re)writing and (re)

Pr
righting history in a way that reflects the voices, stories, and accounts of Native
peoples. These methodologies focus on creating a space “where voices can

n
speak after long and often violently opposed silence,” because as Deborah

to
Miranda declares, “story is the most powerful force in the world,” and it is
ng
through these stories that Native people can reflect their continued experi-
ences with the genocide that is a part of everyone’s history.78 Stories were and
hi

are how Indigenous peoples define and redefine their sovereignty, spaces,
as

cultures, and knowledge.


Like Renya Ramirez, who engages with her research participants as part-
W

ners and not as “informants,” I am proud to acknowledge my close, personal


of

relationships with each of my research participants. My approach has really


been about lived research, and I have always tried to be open and honest with
ity

my community about the nature of my work. Throughout this process I have


been surprised at how supportive those in my community have been of my
rs

work, encouraging me not only to study and learn more about this dance but
ve

to write and publish these stories. Mishuana Goeman asks, “How might our
own stories become the mechanism in which we critically (re)map the relation-
ni

ships between Native peoples and communities?” 79 My personal story, the


U

close relationships I have built over a lifetime with my research partners, and
my deep, personal ties to the Hoopa Valley are all key to my analysis of the
ceremony as decolonizing praxis.
Throughout my life, elders, medicine people, and family members have
told me that in everything I do, especially when it comes to ceremony, I should
approach it “in a good way.” In Hupa we say no’olchwin-ding no’olchwin-te,
which means “grow old in a good way,” and this philosophy permeates our
culture and spirituality. This means having good feelings, good intentions,

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 23 3/7/18 2:44 PM


24 I n t r oduc t ion

and good outcomes. This has become the foundation of my research paradigm.
I strive to do things for communities “in a good way” because I believe that
this is essential to how research should be conducted. I have struggled and
continue to struggle with approaching this subject “in a good way”—in a way
that reflects the nuanced cultural dynamics of the Hupa people. Of major con-
cern to many Native peoples is the appropriation of cultural practices. There
have been tribal peoples who have written about their ceremonies but refused
publication of their work or discussion of it in public settings. Others have
attempted a careful approach to the type of information included in their writ-
ings. Indigenous scholar and ceremonial practitioner Ines Hernández-Ávila

s
es
writes, “I am certain that just as there would be readers who would be truly
respectful of the information, there are those who would feel that my descrip-

Pr
tion of details gave them permission to appropriate. Worse than that, I would
have betrayed the confidence of the women in the sweat lodge circle that I

n
described, because my intention within the circle of ceremony would have
been not to pray, but to record and tell.”80
to
ng
The research presented here is interpersonal—necessarily interpersonal.
Our actions, as we weave the stories of our research, are never divorced from
hi

our intertwined experience with those we research, whether in a laboratory,


as

in fieldwork, or through interviews. This reflects an Indigenous view that the


world functions in an interpersonal and intertwined way, and it anchors Indig-
W

enous traditions in the relational so that each person’s analysis is intensely


of

personal and guided by their own experience of the world. That being said,
the outcomes and conclusions of this text, while intensely interpersonal and
ity

intertwined, are not reflective of the only or the definitive experience or under-
standing of women’s ceremonies, gender, or cultural revitalization. By their
rs

very nature, Native traditions are multifaceted, complex, and relative. Under-
ve

standing this, I am forever grateful for how these women trusted and worked
with me to make this project happen so that their experiences could help inter-
ni

twine, weave, and inform my views on the revitalization of women’s coming-


U

of-age ceremonies as a decolonizing praxis.

Ov e rv i e w of C h ap t e r s

Chapter 1 uses Native feminisms as a framework for analyzing how oral nar-
ratives are a continuation of culture, or what Gerald Vizenor calls “stories of
survivance.”81 The chapter establishes how a Native feminist analytic can
show that Native feminisms are not introduced by Western culture but are

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 24 3/7/18 2:44 PM


I n t ro duc t ion 2 5

instead contained in oral narratives and societal practices of Native peoples.


In the case of the Hupa, a Hupa feminist analysis demonstrates that feminism
is not only part of epistemological or ontological frameworks in oral narra-
tives, but also part of the societal organization of Hupa culture. This chapter
aims to reframe Native women as central to these histories in order to demon-
strate (re)writing, (re)righting, and (re)riteing Native histories that do not
silence or treat Native women as peripheral members of society but instead
foreground how Native women are central to Native cultures and to decoloniz-
ing Native futures.
Chapter 2 critically analyzes the postinvasion history of Native California

s
es
by centering women in the historical landscape and exploring how this inva-
sion led to the suppression of women’s coming-of-age ceremonies. By engen-

Pr
dering the history of the attempted genocide of California Indian peoples, I
provide an analysis that demonstrates how the preinvasion cultures of Native

n
people, which valued gender equality, were systematically attacked by the

to
settler colonial state precisely because these gender roles challenged heter-
ng
opatriarchy and heteropaternalism. I also demonstrate how and why this
restructuring of Native culture and society was systematically focused on the
hi

suppression and eradication of women’s coming-of-age ceremonies because


as

these ceremonies had the power to challenge settler colonial claims to land
and legitimacy through Native feminisms.
W

Chapter 3 interrogates previous scholarship on coming-of-age ceremonies


of

in anthropological and salvage ethnography texts to argue that women’s com-


ing-of-age ceremonies are foundational to anthropological and ethnographic
ity

discourse surrounding Native cultures. In particular I show California Indians


as central to anthropological theories that oversimplified complex Indigenous
rs

“precontact” cultures and societies. This chapter engages in a critical histori-


ve

ography of salvage ethnography in California to intervene on anthropological


discourse and demonstrate how Native peoples negotiated ethnographic
ni

refusal (a term popularized by leading Mohawk scholar Audra Simpson) by


U

leveraging the inclusion of women’s coming-of-age ceremonies in the ethno-


graphic record.82 This chapter also explores the Hupa revitalization of the
women’s coming-of-age ceremony as demonstrating how Native peoples
reclaim these ethnographic accounts and Native cultures continue to reclaim
the stories and memories of women’s coming-of-age for future generations.
Observations about Indigenous menstrual practices have been and are still
mired in assumptions that these practices reflected a “menstrual taboo.” Men-
strual taboos were supposedly nearly universal and cross-cultural. Chapter 4

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 25 3/7/18 2:44 PM


26  I n t r oduc t ion

interrogates assumptions that indigenous menstrual practices are based on


“taboo” and analyzes how the cultural beliefs about Indigenous peoples
become fodder for the continuing support of what I call a “politics of taboo.”
In many of our Indigenous cultures and societies, though gender equality is
a fundamental building block of our ancient epistemologies, it has been sys-
tematically erased from our historical record, our languages, and the interpre­
tations and understanding of our culture and societies. The continued
primitivization of Indigenous peoples and their epistemologies helps support
an ongoing settler colonial project to justify the continued dismissal of Indig-
enous peoples and their rightful claims to land and continued ceremonial

s
es
practices. I aim to demonstrate methodologies in this chapter that can be fur-
ther utilized by other Indigenous communities to (re)write, (re)right, and (re)

Pr
rite how we understand Indigenous menstrual practices.
Chapter 5 provides an opportunity for the kinahłdung to speak and contrib-

n
ute to building the historical record of the Hupa Flower Dance revitalization.

to
This chapter explores how various aspects of the dance specifically address
ng
issues of gender inequality, gender violence, and historical trauma. The chapter
includes interviews with Melodie George-Moore, who is a medicine woman for
hi

the Hupa people, mother, teacher, and my cousin. I also interviewed Lois Ris-
as

ling, my mother, a Hupa elder, trained medicine woman, and educator. The
young women who agreed to be interviewed include Kayla Rae Begay, Natalie
W

Carpenter, Alanna Lee Nulph, Melitta Jackson, Deja George, and Naishian
of

Richards. Together they span the first ten years of this revitalization.
ity

C onc lusion
rs

The last interview I conducted as part of this project was with Naishian Rich-
ve

ards. She was, at the time, the most recent kinahłdung. She was sixteen when
we sat down together, and it had been several months since her Ch’iłwa:l.
ni

Naishian, for me, represented a new era of kinahłdung because she had been
U

adamant about wanting the dance performed for her. At the start of this jour-
ney to revitalize our women’s coming-of-age ceremony, the older women had
to contend with many young women who did not want to do the dance because
of their own perceptions of what it would mean to publicly announce and
celebrate their first menstruation. After only ten years, however, young women
were requesting their own Ch’iłwa:l. Many of them seemed inspired by the
kinahłdung they had grown up with. In some of these young women’s lives,

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 26 3/7/18 2:44 PM


I n t ro duc t ion27

this physical demonstration of a Hupa decolonizing praxis, this powerful


reminder of Hupa epistemologies of gender equality, was a natural and normal
part of everyday life.
Naishian had seen this dance before. She had watched as the young
kinahłdung grew into strong, powerful women. I was there as a part of her
dance and sang over her, in awe of the strength she demonstrated throughout
her ceremony. Naishian, who told me about how her mother hadn’t been in
her life much, also told me about the moment when her mother showed up
for her at this dance. She remembered that in daily prayers which were part of
her morning run, “not only did I just pray for myself, I prayed for my mom to

s
es
show up. And she did. And it was pretty powerful.”83 While many of the young
women I interviewed were a number of years away from their dance, Naishi-

Pr
an’s dance was a fresh part of her life when we sat down together. Here was a
young kinahłdung of a new era, an era when Hupa people celebrated women’s

n
coming-of-age and the entire community was there to support our young

to
women as we laid the groundwork for our Indigenous futures.
ng
I asked Naishian what she thought I should tell people about the impor-
tance of this ceremony, and at only sixteen, her response was tempered and
hi

powerful. It would guide me as I sat down to write. It would set the tone for
as

what I hoped this book would capture.


W

In this dance people are here for you. They are all here for you. They are
of

not just . . . forced to be here, but they’re here to support you. They’re here
to congratulate you on that last day, that last run. They’re just, like, excited
ity

because you’ve done it. You’ve put the commitment into doing this dance.
You did all of it and it’s going to give you something that you’ve never had
rs

before. This dance, it’s going to give you strength. It’s going to give you so
ve

much power that you’ve never had. It’s going to just take off.84
ni
U

F.Risling Baldy, Dancing for You.indd 27 3/7/18 2:44 PM