BECOMING A WOMAN
||12/2/2002; 3:30:35 PM
||BECOMING A WOMAN
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In the Distant Time or long ago time, the elders of today heard the stories of becoming a woman through oral narratives from their elders. The woman of the 1920-30's did not have to isolate themselves in a separate tent during this training time but they know their great-grandmothers did.
"Well, the other girls wore a huge hat, they tied it behind to the ground and they are not supposed to take it off, I believe. Anyway, they sat under that big hat and they sew and sew and sew." Julie Allen, Watson Lake
"When she's a woman that time, they put her away--put her under that hat. It's covered with little sticks--porcupine quills. They make a little place for her away from camp. No men there, just women. They teach her to sew, sew for everyone. She sews skins--gogher-skin robe....
You don't drink water. That means you'll be tough. Later you drink water only through a bone, not like this (indicating teacup). Some kind of geese, swan's bone, like straw. You can't put your mouth (on a cup) or you won't talk good. You got to have that bone all the time on string around your neck.
No fresh meat, so you'll be tough: fresh meat is too soft. They give you what is good: dry one. No berries, or your head will shake when you get old. They brush crow feathers across your eyes so you'll get up early in the morning before crows. They give you goose feathers and you hold them in your hands and blow them in the air: then they make you get up and walk. That way, you won't get tired when you walk. And when you're going to stand up, you blow (indicates rubbing legs, then blowing into the air): then you stand up. That's so you won't be heavy." Kitty Smith, Life Lived Like a Story, p.214
About The Creators
Location and Maps of Watson Lake
Kaska Language Web Page
Traditions and Women
Photographs of Watson Lake