These rites could weed out the weak from the strong, and eventually pointed to the best and wisest leaders among the people.
The second raid against the Crow is another step on White Man's Dog's path toward manhood. He is chosen to "count the first honor" (Welch 139) of the battle, and this shows his stature has risen in the band. He is wounded, but he kills and scalps the leader of the Crows, and his father acknowledges he is a brave. However, he finds he does not enjoy the killing, and this makes him an even greater man, because he understands the evil of fighting amongst each other, when the Natives should all be banding together to ward of the white man's advances. After the second raid, he is renamed "Fools Crow" because the tribe believes he tricked the entire Crow village, and that helped in their victory. This is the final rite of passage, and he is truly a great man and a great leader after this. The final rite of passage is when the whites kill another band of his people. He realizes the whites and the Natives will never live together in peace, and he has matured beyond his years with this realization. Ultimately, he becomes the leader of the tribe, and he thinks to himself "he knew they would survive, for they were the chosen ones" (Welch 390). Fools Crow is a wise leader, and he learned much of his wisdom through his many rites of passage.
In conclusion, throughout the novel, Fools Crow is on a journey of discovery. He comes to understand himself through the help of Mik-Api, and his own passage from boy to man. Mik-Api often points him in the direction he needs to follow, such as when he points out Red Paint for the first time. Fools Crow becomes a man with help, but a leader by his own wits and prowess. Even more important, his people trust him, and that is what truly has been his most important rite of passage.
Welch, James. Fools…
Sources Used in Document:
Welch, James. Fools Crow. New York: Penguin Books, 1986.