236.jpg

Sunrise Ceremony also known as a coming of age ceremony within the Apache culture. The Apache Sunrise ceremony is an arduous 4 day ceremony that an Apache girl goes through after her first menstruation. The ceremony takes place in the summer following the girl’s first menstruation. For four days and four nights, the girl will dance and run into the four directions (symbolizing the four stages of life, beginning in the east). The girl also receives and gives gifts, being introduced to their ability to heal. The Sunrise ceremony was not permitted to be practiced as it was banned by the US government (as were most of native spiritual practices and rituals). With the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978, the Sunrise ceremony could openly be practiced on reservations again.

The following documented Sunrise Dance took place on the Yavapai-Apache Nation's reservation located in Camp Verde, Az. Lillian Begay had her Dance during the summer of 2019.