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Melanie "Little Cloud" Bell's coming-of-age ceremony (na'ii'ees), was held on Mescalero Apache land in New Mexico during late July 2002.

This was a rare, traditional version of the ritual, which lasted a week.

Melanie's mom, Frances Cochise. Left and below: Ritual massages (niztii) and sprints (gishshizhaahá bidaa leedilyee) prepare Melanie for endurance dancing.

Gaan dancers banish bad spirits.

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As Melanie dances through the night,
cooks prepare a post-midnight meal.

For more info on this ceremony:
Children of Changing Woman