- Indians had many different ways of burying their dead. Sometimes
each tribe had several forms of burial. The most common modes were
the placing of the dead in pits, graves, or holes in the ground; in stone
caskets; in mounds; and under or in cabins, wigwams, houses, lodges, and
Among the Chippewa, Sioux, Silsika, Mandan,
Gro Ventre, Arapaho, and others the dead person was placed on a scaffold
or in a tree. in the Northwest the deceased was put in a canoe and
the canoe placed on posts or in the forks of trees.
Some tribes of the South wrapped the corpse
in a cane matting and put it in a reed coffin and buried it in the ground.
others mummified or embalmed the corpse before burial. Cremation
was observed by some Pacific Coast tribes. The Creek and Seminole
buried their dead in a circular pit in a sitting position, and the Mohawk
made a large round hole and placed the body in it in a squatting position.
Some tribes of the Great lakes region dug
up their dead at certain periods and placed all the bones in a common pit.
The totem pole makers of the Northwest
were in the habit of cutting off the heads of their medicine men, placing
them in boxes with their magical equipment, and storing the box in a dry
Most tribes placed food and weapons near
the burial place and a few even killed slaves and horses, believing the
dead would need these things in the next world.
Mourning the dead was customary.
Among a few tribes the name of a dead person was never mentioned.
Others observed the mourning period by cutting off their hair, wailing
loudly, throwing away all ornaments and neglecting their persons, or carrying
around a bundle representing the deceased. Cheyenne widows slashed
their arms and legs.
Some famous Indian chiefs have had a difficult
time resting in their graves. The bodies of Sitting Bull and Quanah
parker have been dug up and reburied in other spots. Black hawk's
remains were disturbed several times, only to be destroyed at last by fire.
Red jacket's body was hidden by a relative for years before it was properly
buried. Comcomly's skull was sent to England and exhibited there
for more than a century, and only recently was returned to this country.
within this Site
Hawk ][ Comcomly ][ Quanah
Parker ][ Red Jacket ][ Sitting