Monthly Archives: August 2011

Green cemeteries: An alternative to environmentally-unfriendly burials!

  Most of us naturally resist thinking about our earthly demise and the “disposal” of our remains. We Baby Boomers likely tend to harbor hope that we will somehow cheat death — or at least put it off for 100 or more years. Whether you happen to live 100 years or more, one day you will “pay the piper” — that is, kick the bucket, buy the farm, cash in your chips, etc. For us American Indians death is simply a matter of changing worlds. We trust that the Great Spirit/HaShem/God is not a jack booted thug intent on consigning most people to some sort of eternal torment for missteps committed during a handful of years or decades but, rather, is intent on reconciling most of humankind to himself. You may disagree — which is something we American Indians respect — though I personally am hard-pressed to understand people who promote a theology which portrays God as a judge who (to be honest) differs little from those who populated the “People’s Courts” in Nazi Germany. Be that as it may, I am here to place before you something more pragmatic — more “here & now” – namely how you will dispose of your mortal remains. Many will opt for being embalmed and buried in an airtight coffin that is sunk in a concrete jacket so as to minimize deterioration through time. This is a personal choice, though there are powerful arguments against this — if only because embalming fluid and such has a deleterious impact on the local environment. If you are open to an alternative — something ”green” — consider having your mortal remains disposed of in a green cemetery (If it could be pulled off I’d argue for the establishment of burial platforms much like my Plains Indian ancestors and brothers utilized in various localities. There is something inherently appealing about raising a body up to meet the world above and beyond IMO):

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3947912/ns/us_news-environment/t/texas-cemetery-offers-green-burials/

http://www.greenburials.org/FAQ.htm – includes a list of green cemeteries

http://www.ethicianfamilycemetery.org/ – for my fellow Texans & interested others

Nota Bene: I have no financial or other ties to MSNBC or the Ethican Church or the Ethical Family Cemetery.

Copyright 2012 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved but spread it around anyway.

From “Native American Spirituality: A Walk In The Woods” by Rainbow Eagle

Spoken by Ogala Lakota leader Crazy Horse to Chief Sitting Bull (September 1877) – four days before Crazy Horse was murdered.

“Upon suffering beyond suffering, the Red Nation shall rise again and be a blessing for a sick world. A world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separation. A world longing for the light again. I see a time, long after the skies have grown dark and ugly and the water has become bad smelling. I see a time of seven generations when all the colors of mankind at that place will gather under the sacred tree of life and the whole earth will become one circle again”

“In that day, there will be those among the Lakota who will carry the knowledge and understanding of unity among all living things and the young white ones will come to those of my people and ask for this wisdom.”

“I salute the light within your eyes, where the whole universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am at that place within me, we shall be one”   

Pg 76, “Native American Spirituality: A Walk In The Woods” by (Choctaw Nation Member) Rainbow Eagle   

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