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Impearls: HIC 8.1.8: Girl's adolescence dance

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Earthdate 2005-11-12

Girl's adolescence dance   by A. L. Kroeber

The Hupa stand one slight grade lower than the Yurok in the scale of civilization by one test that holds through most of California: the attention bestowed on the recurring physiological functions of women.  The influence of their hill neighbors may be responsible.  At a girl's adolescence, when she was called kinatldang, 10 days' observances were undergone by her which are very similar to those followed by the Yurok.  In addition, there was a nightly dance in the dwelling house which the Yurok did not practice, although they knew it among the Hupa, and similar rites were followed among the Karok, Tolowa, and Wiyot.  A number of men wearing feather-tipped caps of buckskin from which a flap falls down the back entered several times a night to sing about the blanket -covered girl.  They vibrated long rattles which are a modification of the clap stick that is used in dances throughout central California.  The end of the Hupa stick is whittled into five or six slender and flexible rods.  These rattles were not used by the Yurok.  One dancer wore a headdress belonging to the Deerskin dance; another, one from the Jumping dance; both carried small thin boards cut and painted into a rude suggestion of the human figure.  In the intervals, seated women sang and tapped the girl with the rattles.  After the tenth night, the girl finally threw off her blanket, went outside, and looked into two haliotis shells held to the south and north of her, seeing therein the two celestial worlds.



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