Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Research, 18:2 (Fall 2008). Copyright © 2008 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Carol Markstrom's study, written from the perspective of a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescence, recognizes the cultural strengths essential to the coming-of-age ceremonies of Indigenous female adolescents at menarche. Motivated by a desire to bring proper recognition to the life-affirming rituals of North American Indian cultures, Markstrom takes you along on her journey of examining the history and impact of colonization on sociocultural expressions of puberty among Great Plains and Southwest tribes, exploring themes of renewal and regeneration in contemporary ritual expressions. While special attention is given to female puberty rituals in the Apache, Navajo, Lakota, and Ojibwa communities, what is particularly impressive is how Markstrom captures the emotion of how Natives feel in her description and analysis of initiates and community members during her Apache Sunrise Dance fieldwork. It is in her description and interpretation of the Apache Sunrise Dance that she clearly engages the reader and successfully demonstrates how cultural expressions of the past, steeped in foundational rules of oral traditions, continue to the present in contemporary ritual practices.