Yellow Bird: Keeping traditions alive
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"The young woman who died was a rancher. She rode wild horses, helped with branding and cattle and rode in rodeos. She was cowgirl and had a free spirit like the land she lived in.

Because of her tie to the land, they buried her the old way. They carried her from the ranch to the Poker Jim cemetery in a wagon drawn by horses. Her son sat at the end of the wagon to keep the casket safe. The family also rode in the wagon with her. Friends, including my aunt's sons, followed the cortege on horseback.

The woman's horse, with an empty saddle and her spurs, chaps and rope, followed. They lowered the casket into the ground using hard-twist ropes and their own hands.

This kind of funeral and burial wouldn't have been unusual maybe 15 or 20 years ago. But today, people use long limousines, a gravesite covered with green carpet, canopies shading the folding chairs that are set up for family and friends, and motorized pulleys to settle the remains into the ground. . ."

Get the Story:
DORREEN YELLOW BIRD COLUMN: A rancher's final chapter captures spirit of the land (The Grand Forks Herald 10/8)

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