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Traditional funeral was beautiful

     This past Thursday, March 7, I had the honor and privilege of going to the most beautiful celebration of life I’ve ever attended in my 60 years.

     The traditional Ojibway funeral was for Audrey Swan, a friend from the Pine Point/Ponsford area of the White Earth Reservation.

     Services were held at the gymnasium of the Pine Point School.

     The front of the crowd packed gym was decorated with many gorgeous, handmade star quilts and beautiful wool Pendleton blankets.

     Many, many beautiful plants and flowers lined the blanket covered tables and walls on either side of the casket.

     The casket was wood and lined with a beautiful aqua Pendleton blanket, to keep its occupnat warm on her journey.

     There was a constant stream of family, friends, and community members coming through the doors with food for the feast to follow the service.

     The traditional ceremony started with four beautiful songs by the drum group.

     The drum group continued as all in attendance were given a chance to say a final farewell… the line of people stretched around the gym.

     This awesome drum group sang and drummed for one hour and 36 minutes until everyone said their goodbyes.

     When the ceremony was over, chairs were moved, tables came out and food appeared from the kitchen.

     Within minutes, a 50 foot foodline was set up… just as if it was an orchestrated play… so well rehearsed!

     Family and friends got time to visit and share a wonderful feast of many hotdishes, ham, turkey, fruit, chips, fry bread, fruit salads, rolls, baked beans, potato salads, sandwiches, macaroni salads and drinks.

     You hear so much nowadays about all the bad things going on in our world. Television and newspapers seem to sensationalize killings, drugs, etc., that happen on the reservation. This celebration  of life is an example of the good that goes on here.

     Many hundreds of people attended this beautiful service to honor a loved servant and resident of the Pine Point community. My husband, Bill Smith and I were there for about four and a half hours, celebrating the life of this beautiul woman, taken from her life way too early.  What an awesome way to send a loved one on their journey home! — Jane M. Smith, Callaway