Each tribe has their own variation on funeral customs, including use of Native languages, symbols, ceremonial objects and practice. A few beliefs are held in common: Native people consider the natural world a sacred place. Birth, life and death are all part of an endless cycle. The remaining family stands in the center of the Native American Funeral. They participate closely in every step of the body care after death and the funeral preparation. Green burial techniques honor the earth.
In the Midwest, a tipi is typically set up for the body to lie in honor for several days with a campfire burning outside. The body is never left alone during this time. Women feed visitors, and children help while being taught the etiquette of entering the tipi and other traditional ways. Some families dress the deceased in full regalia and jewelry, with self-made moccasins for their trip to the next world.
Every family and tribe has their own traditional way: prayers, songs, smudging, and items that may be buried with the deceased. A medicine man may perform a ceremony in the tribe’s native language. A ceremonial dance can be arranged to honor the deceased and reconfirm our love and connection to the deceased even in the afterlife.