The Graveyards

No more are the graveyards of the Indian,. With the coming of the white settlers they disappeared. When Indians died they went to a far country where the good things of life were more abundant–especially good hunting. They left their bodies here, and these were put into a canoe. By the body was laid some of their personal belongings, weapons and packstraps–things they might need on the journey. Members of the tribe would take them to the graveyard. The canoe was dragged ashore, hoisted up among the trees, and tied to limbs, there to hang in a horizontal position. During the dragging and hoisting, singers would chant a magic song to help the deceased on the journey. In the tree tops above the graveyard sat Kla-akhs (the Raven) watching that no one molested the dead.

Some of these Indians graveyards such as the one near the river on the east end of the Matterand place near Stanwood, were quite big. There hung at least 40 canoes when the first settlers came. For sanitary reasons the Indians were asked to remove and dispose of the dead by burial, which they did.


Bruseth, Nels. Indian Stories and Legends of the Stillaguamish and Allied Tribes. 1926.

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