Dying is a social as well as physiological phenomenon. Each society characterizes and, consequently, treats death and dying in its own individual ways—ways that differ markedly. These particular patterns of death and dying engender modal cultural responses, and such institutionalized behavior has familiar, economical, educational, religious, and political implications. The Handbook of Death and Dying takes stock of the vast literature in the field.

The Native American Way of Death

The native American way of death

Native American tribes exhibit reverence and respect for life. Everything is sacred: dirt, rocks, trees, animals. Death is considered a natural occurrence within life, something to be accepted rather than feared. Rather than disconnecting with the dead, Native American peoples continue to have a relationship with them. From the Native American perspective, death is not a defeat. It is not the result of an offense against God or some other deity but, rather, the common fate of all.

According to the Native American worldview, each of us has a purpose ...

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