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    Abstract

    Nose-piercing as a Puberty Ceremony.—Among the Kamia, an Indian tribe of Imperial Valley, southeastern California, nose-piercing is practised as the essential feature of the boys' puberty ceremony. According to information obtained by Mr. E. W. Gifford and recorded in Bull. 97 of the American Bureau of Ethnology, no youth can marry until he had undergone this operation. The usual age for marriage was about fifteen years. Not less than four boys can be operated on at one time, and if the number ready for the ceremony is insufficient it has to be postponed. The chief takes the initiative, but the parents' consent has to be obtained. Large quantities of food are necessary, of which the greater part is supplied by the chief and the rest by the parents. The chief's ‘policeman’ removes the boys to the bush during the latter part of the night, and remains with them until they return to their homes. The operation is performed by four operators, who use needles of screw-bean wood. Immediately after the operation the ‘policemen’ force the boys to run six or seven miles to a house and back, They are then kept at the place of operation for four days, and are allowed to eat only watermelon and corn mush. Each morning the ‘policeman‘ washes their noses with hot water, and day and night men and women sing continuously near the place of confinement. When on the morning after the fourth night they go home, they remain naked for a month and eat no fish, deer or jack rabbit. The hole in the septum is kept open by a piece of arrow-weed stick. Later, strings of white clamshell beads are worn hanging from the septum. Sometimes these are long enough to hang in front of the lips and have to be lifted when the man wishes to eat.

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    Research Items. Nature 127, 907–909 (1931). https://doi.org/10.1038/127907a0

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