"They would go down, boys, into the kiva and come out again, men."

Si Wa Wata Wa, a Zuni Elder
Public DomainSi Wa Wata Wa, a Zuni Elder - Credit: Edward S. Curtis 1903, Library of Congress
In Zuni tradition, the 'coming of age' ceremony is regarded as a sacred and important rite of passage. It is celebrated differently by boys and girls. When a girl is ready to become a maiden, she will visit the home of her father’s mother early in the morning to grind corn all day. By doing so she declares herself ready to play a role in the welfare of her people.

When a boy is ready to become a man, his parents will select a spiritual father to instruct the boy through the ceremony. This involves certain initiation rites in which he will learn the religious, secular or political duties that he will take on as a man within his society.