Today’s my uncle Charlie’s burial. Sto:lo custom is a prayer service and procession on day one, day two: funeral service where an appointed speaker gives eulogies on behalf of the family. Then procession to family cemetery where everyone helps bury them. After is the burning. 1
During the burning, they build a platform and pile all the dead person’s favourite things on it, including their favourite foods. In our culture - you DO take it with you. People also walk into the smoke to commune with the dead. This is repeated once a year. 2
I think traditionally, before the communists, Chinese people had the same sort of ceremony - that’s what ‘hell money’ and those paper cell phones in Chinatown are all about. For us it’s mostly food. 3
After this is done, we have to find someone who has a similar character, to take up his ancestral name -Sacqulty. He had the same character as the previous Sacqulty and so on for a few thousand years back. Every generation it’s the same cast of characters - but in different ppl 4
There’s a dumb stereotype about how Native names work. The closest analogy for ours is like blockchain - where the name carries information about all the previous holders of it - a ledger of their personalities, and lessons on how to act. 5
They say you die twice, first physically, then later when your name’s spoken for the last time. For us that 2nd death is greatly delayed. The great grandchildren of infants born today will be in the ground long before my uncle’s name & the parts of him that go with it pass away 6
I couldn’t go because of my arm. But I sent a eulogy. Everyone always talks about rest and the end of suffering in their eulogies. Mine doesn’t - I write that it’s just bad, and unfair, and that the struggle was because he wanted to stay here - so before anything else, it’s sad 7
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