Encyclopedia Article


To formally, if not ritually, bring an individual into a specific group or organization. The initiation process can be triggered by coming of age and reaching a certain societal point of maturation, by accomplishing a series of tasks, or by learning the steps, songs, and procedures of various ceremonials, among many other possibilities. To become initiated into a group suggests that one has passed from one stage of life into another, from one series of responsibilities to another, and from one set of behaviors to another.

Photo Credit: 

"Institute of American Indian Arts graduation ceremony circa 1975." Archives of IAIA (box08f01i12.jpg). Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe.

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