What Is Ta-Na-E-Ka?

"Ta-Na-E-Ka" is a ritual and tradition of the Kaw Indian tribe in which children are sent into the woods covered in white paint and return when the paint wears off completely. Mothers are not allowed to weep for children who do not survive.

The events of the Ta-Na-E-Ka ritual are depicted in a famous short story written by Mary Whitebird and published in the 1970s. Mary Whitebird is a pseudonym for the private author and is also the main character's name in the story. According to SJTeach.org, the tradition is valued by the adults in the story but not by the new generation of children.