Discover the similarities between the funeral rites of the Cree people of Canada and Nigerian cultures

Discover the similarities between the funeral rites of the Cree people of Canada and Nigerian cultures

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Discover the similarities between the funeral rites of the Cree people of Canada and Nigerian cultures
<p class="">Canada, like America, has about 45 indigenous tribes, with diverse cultures and beliefs. Read about one of such tribes here.</p> <h1>The Cree people are one of the First Nations in Canada.</h1> <p class="">The history of indigenous peoples in Canada is rich and diverse, stretching long before the arrival of the European newcomers. The First […]
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<p class="">Canada, like America, has about 45 indigenous tribes, with diverse cultures and beliefs. Read about one of such tribes here.</p>

<h1>The Cree people are one of the First Nations in Canada.</h1>

<p class="">The history of indigenous peoples in Canada is rich and diverse, stretching long before the arrival of the European newcomers. The First Nations, Inuit and Métis were the original inhabitants of the land that is now called Canada. After many diverse interactions and conflict, these people continue to live in different parts of Canada and continue to play important roles in the country’s development and future.</p>

<figure class="image" align="center"> <img src="http://ocdn.eu/images/pulscms/YTM7MDA_/0a0a1264cc16013283ef6cf03e69e3ee.jpg" alt="Ancient Cree people from Canada [The Canadian Encyclopedia]"> <figcaption>Ancient Cree people from Canada [The Canadian Encyclopedia]</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">The Cree are one of such indigenous or aboriginal people. They are the largest First Nations in North America. According to Wikipedia, there are over 350,000 people of Cree descent or have Cree ancestry. These hunter-gatherers are scattered around the large country and live in "lodges" made up of 8-12 natives.</p>

<p class="">The Cree have gone on to form political organisations but still keep their cultural traditions and customs sacred.</p>

<h3>Funeral rites</h3>

<p class="">Like many African tribes, Cree people believe in spirits, visions and dreams. They believe that each living thing possesses a spirit which is eternal and when we die, the spirit continues the journey in the universe.</p>

<figure class="image" align="center"> <img src="http://ocdn.eu/images/pulscms/Y2Q7MDA_/b662702ce7454d765a80701a656735e6.jpg" alt="Funeral ceremony in Abiriba, Abia State [Gubanu]"> <figcaption>Funeral ceremony in Abiriba, Abia State [Gubanu]</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">They also believe in the connection between the living and dead, and the circle of life, which is essentially part of Igbo Odinani.</p>

<p class="">When a person dies, their funeral Wake may last up to four days and three nights. Friends and relatives continuously take turns staying with the body. As people come and go they relate stories of earlier days and share memories of the deceased. They may laugh or cry, whatever to ease the tension.</p>

<p class="">In preparation for the burial, women are the main actors. They are involved in washing and dressing the body, and making moccasins to placed on the corpse’s feet.</p>

<figure class="image" align="center"> <img src="http://ocdn.eu/images/pulscms/OWQ7MDA_/6287ef4b87ff063326dbd5844159f2c3.jpg" alt="A Cree woman [The Canadian Encyclopedia]"> <figcaption>A Cree woman [The Canadian Encyclopedia]</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">Women also prepare the meals during the days of bereavement and for the funeral. The intention of the feast is to eat with the Spirits.</p>

<p class="">Sweetgrass is placed in the right hand of the deceased for purification, Tobacco is placed in the casket to aid communication between the Creator and his creatures and a personal article is also left with the body.</p>

<p class="">At the grave site prayers are offered and songs are often sung. Before the casket is lowered into the earth it is covered with a blanket as a gesture of farewell and respect. If the deceased was married it is often the marriage blanket which is used. The casket is then lowered into the earth. The male relatives and friends fill the grave with earth before all the mourners congregate at the feast to pray for the Spirit’s journey and well being.</p>

<figure class="image" align="center"> <img src="http://ocdn.eu/images/pulscms/MDE7MDA_/6bbe3f595d463f7753b68346ed36d69f.jpg" alt="Typical burial ceremony in Nigeria [Daily Nigerian]"> <figcaption>Typical burial ceremony in Nigeria [Daily Nigerian]</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">Cree people do not cry during the night after the fourth sun has set to honor the deceased’s Spirit. Then, the deceased’s property is distributed to remove earthly anchors and allow the Spirit complete freedom to depart from those who mourn it.</p>

<p class="">After a year has passed the deceased’s family gives a feast to honor the passage of the Spirit from the body, like a memorial service.</p>

<p class="">It is easy to see the similarities with the funeral rites of several Nigerian cultures, such as the Igbos who believe in reincarnation and the influence of the spiritual over the natural, just as traditional Cree spirituality strongly reinforces that though the body undergoes physical transformations, the Spirit remains unchanged.</p>

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