Keeping the Circle Alive: An Analysis of Coming-of-Age for Boys and Men of the shíshálh Nation
In 2018, Leah Iselmoe conducted research with shíshálh girls and the Moon Circles of shelkem as part of an effort to understand the coming-of-age process for women. Similar detailed research has not been done for boys or men, and the information that does exist on this process (by Peterson 1990) is questionable in its interpretation and presentation. The current work is an attempt to remedy this problem by providing information on coming-of-age for boys that comes directly from knowledge keepers within the shíshálh Nation, with the acknowledgement that interpretation should be from within a shíshálh worldview. To that end, conversations were held with various knowledge keepers regarding the topic and were subsequently analyzed and coded in order to understand the themes contained within. Conversation analyses show that prior interpretations of coming-of-age for shíshálh boys were not entirely accurate and did not take the shíshálh worldview into account. Themes of respect and perseverance are fundamental to coming-of-age and were previously not mentioned in that context. While this work does not fully encompass the entirety of the coming-of-age process, it is the author’s hope that it helps fill the knowledge gap and remedies erroneous information presented by Peterson (1990).
shishalh, coming-of-age, ethnography
Master of Arts (M.A.)
Archaeology and Anthropology