Kane K.

Rama, Ontario

Simcoe County Regional Fair

Traditional Ojibwe Funerals

This project provides a detailed account of a traditional Ojibwe funeral as well as the reasoning behind the process. It is a historical account of how my people traditionally dealt with the passing of a loved one; how this tradition was outlawed by the European settlers; and how my people are working to bring back this tradition for our communities.



What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

The most interesting things I learned were that traditionally my people did not use coffins to bury a loved-one: we were either given back to the land, or cremated. I also found it very interesting how the Spirit Guide was used in the ceremony to guide your loved-one on their journey to the spirit world.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

I have learnt the importance of keeping our oral tradition alive by speaking to our elders. Interviewing our elders in order to preserve our history is not done nearly enough and many of our traditions were nearly lost as a result of this. My people have lived through significant suppression which nearly wiped out our traditions; but it is the job of the youth to move past this to ensure that our traditional knowledge is preserved. By doing this we will be able to establish a future that is deep in cultural understanding.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

Things are a lot different now than they were then: traditionally my people lived off the land always used every part of an animal they hunted, they never wasted anything, and we didn’t use money – all things were done by trade. This was a more environmental approach than how we live today and the land has suffered as a result of the European way of life.