Heritage Site / Ethnography Site / Nakawé / The People

Article: Men's Stages of Personal Development

Upon the onset of puberty the rites of manhood would be imposed upon the boy. The goal of such would be to initiate a journey in the woods or a lonely hill for 2 - 4 days at a time in the hopes of finding a spirit guide or helper. The boy would blacken his face with ash, pray and cry aloud in the hopes that a potential spirit helper would come. It is said that this helper would appear to the child in the form of a man. During the boy's journey, he would converse with the spirit helper many times and learn such thing as certain songs to sing or what plants to use for effective medicinal use. During this vision that the boy would have, a relationship is forged between him and the spirit helper that came to help him. This would mark the spirits lifelong obligation to become the boys' guardian. When the boy returned to the village he was asked if his vision quest was a success. The boy usually answered in a simple yes or no fashion. Any kind of elaboration on such matters weakened the significance and power of the event.