The Ojibwe "Berry Fast": A Native American Coming-of-Age Menstruation Ritual

A hand with dark-colored berries in it

The Ojibwe “berry-fast” is a year-long ritual that begins when someone starts their first period. Many native ceremonies and practices were suppressed by the U.S. and Canadian governments in the 19th and 20th centuries, but the berry-fast is slowly making a comeback.

Ojibwe women historically conducted a ritual for their girls when they started their first menstruation, part of which included fasting from eating strawberry, or heart berry, known as Ode’imin, for an entire year. This was also a time to learn valuable wisdom from women elders.”