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Guajira Girls' Initiation Ceremony

5:05 min. - In certain nations, like the Guajiras in Venezuela, the passage from girlhood to womanhood is very important. The entire community participates in the event. The young woman is isolated and made to fast. Her hair is cut, she is dressed in beautiful clothes, then presented to the community


Evelyne St-Onge - Come in, I'm making myself some larch tea. Did you know that in certain nations, such as the Guajira in Venezuela, the passage from girl to woman is very pronounced? The whole community participates in the event. The young woman is isolated, she fasts, is washed, her hair is cut, she's dressed in beautiful garments and presented to the community. During the dance, the boy takes out his hat and shakes it while dancing backwards in a circle, while inviting the girl to catch him. The girl must pursue him while trying to step on his feet, so he loses his balance and falls.
Laura Pinette - I didn't know you went to Venezuela, Nukum.
Evelyne St-Onge - Yes, we went to Venezuela with Aunt Anne-Marie, we went to see other Innu, specifically other women and their way of life. Can you make a fire... You know, when I went to Venezuela with Anne-Marie...
Children there play with medusas on the beach, and they're not afraid. They're supposed to be dangerous. All the members of the community in Venezuela come out to see the young girl who has become a woman. That's how they prepare girls for becoming mothers. It's different with the Innu. When it was time for me to learn, I didn't live with my mother, I was at residential school, there was no transmission between my mother and me. She told me I would get my period one day, that's all! We Innu didn't talk about it. I heard some women asking questions about their period, or about pregnancy. I never heard of Innu preparing women for these things.
Music - Kathia Rock

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