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Author Topic: How to Conduct A Burial Ceremony for A Loved One  (Read 2551 times)


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How to Conduct A Burial Ceremony for A Loved One
« on: February 23, 2014, 11:14:47 PM »
 There has been requests sent in on how to do a Native ceremony to place Loved Ones to rest traditionally.

First off, as you will know, all are not the same nor or they ever really conducted exactly the same.

    So much depends on the diverse beliefs of other family members, and how to conduct a ceremony so as to not shock or offend and do respectfully. For all to have an understanding of what is being done in honour of the one whom has made their journey.

    Keeping all in mind and heart, there is a basic way to give the proper honor to abide to all Native beliefs along with other faiths. Below will be a listing of steps to take before and during a Native Ceremony for Burial of a Loved One.

1)  Pray about this, and do talk this over with the immediate family.

2)  If agreed upon, then a Blanket must be bought or provided to have the Loved One placed upon in their coffin before the body is placed by the funeral home. It must be big enough to wrap the body and to be able to cover the face entirely (After) the service or before if it is a "Closed Casket"

This Blanket can be of the families favourite handmade quilts, or usually is a "Pendleton Brand" Native blanket that are specially made just for that purpose.

3)  At the service, if a separate ceremony is to be conducted, then there should be someone to announce that there will be an "Extra Ceremony" to give honour and respect to the fact that the Love One was Native American, and ask all attending to please take this in consideration.  It is not in any way to disrespect any other faiths or beliefs, but; our beliefs although may seem strange, are still the one belief in the Creator of all the Universe, however one sees Him, and that we do be live in His son, no matter what tongue or language is spoken.

4)  Next, you are to acquire these items from most herbal stores that sell these items locally or on the Internet: 

a) White Sage, Loose Pipe Tobacco, Cedar Shavings and (Sweet Grass Cut into small pieces) Add altogether .enough to be able to make a path of it from the head of the loved one to their feet (If possible) usually the coffins are covering the feet.  But the one conducting the ceremony will sprinkle as far as they can towards the feet.

Then to complete, with the sage mixture, they will sprinkle across the chest to form a cross.

Make sure that there is still enough sage mixture for the one conducting the ceremony, to have to light for a small smudge pot to burn. This is to purify the entire area of the coffin BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE IS DONE.

 b) As the one whom is conducting the ceremony, should pray out loud for all to hear clearly , and ask for "The Creator of all come and join with all gathered, the good and good only Ancestors that has walked this Earth before us to join to give honour, for one of the Blood is coming home in the ways of the people passed down from generations to generations. AH-HO and AMEN!"

c) Before the service, the family members (usually have already told verbally or have it put into the notice of crossing of the Loved one), that they will be allowed to bring a small "Remembrance Items" for that Loved One.  These will be placed around the Loved one (within) the coffin (If Opened)..If not these items can be placed on top of a (Closed Coffin) at the service at the church or funeral home, or gently thrown into the hole at the "grave-side ceremony". NOTE: There has been a "Special" area set aside with a picture of the loved one, where people can place their "items of remembrances" at that place alone if the family prefers that way better.

5) Lastly, after all has been done, then the one conducting the ceremony, will finish in the close (If the coffin was opened) (IN OLD TRADITION) to place A single Eagle Feather to be placed on their chest.  This is the highest honour of all to that loved one, sending them to the face of their Creator with honour and respect of their people and ancestors. But; in today's society and laws, not all Native families have access to Eagle feathers anymore.  A single "White Goose" feather can be used instead to represent "purity"  We hide nothing from the Creator.

Now cover the face and upper body with the blanket. This last step is a signal for the funeral directors to close the coffin, to get ready for the graveside burial. This is because most burials are done by the funeral homes now, not in our traditional manners of plains platform burials, or woodland burials.

Hope this was a help to many,

In all Love and Honour and Respect                                                         

"We are not Human Beings having a Spiritual Experience, we are Spiritual Beings having a Human experience"


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