Sandy Baptist Church Cemetery
Murray County, Oklahoma
The photo above, is of a small house that covers a grave. This small
house is common among some tribes of Oklahoma. The house must be erected
immediately after the funeral to house the spirit of the deceased individual.
We are not talking about 'evil' or 'good' spirits here. We are referring
to the 'essence' of the human being. The part that leaves our body when
we die. The shelter is to house the spirit for 3 days when one dies. During
these 3 days, the spirit retraces the footsteps of his life, visiting
friends and relatives and saying goodbye. Also, there is the custom of
placing items of glass of various colors that belonged to the deceased.
Other items that the departed valued may also be placed in the little
house. I have seen crockery, pots & pans as well as a cup and saucer and
silver pocket watch with leather fringe and beads, placed on the graves.
After the 3 days, the spirit goes to it's final reward. If it is raining
the day of the funeral, it is considered a good sign because the rain
washes the footsteps of the wondering individual from the earth. This
explanation was related to me by a Chickasaw man who got the story from
Photograph and narrative Copyright © 2000, Dennis Muncrief
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