#22 The Sandhills
     (Adolf Hungry Wolf, 1977)

According to tradition, the Spirits of our People go to a place called the Sandhills after the person’s body dies. Good, bad, or indifferent as the person was when physically alive, so will the Spirit go on forever in the Sandhills. A decreased person’s most cherished possessions were usually placed with the body, so that their spirits could continue to be together. The same was true of a man’s favorite horse. It was often shot by his grave. Favorite horses that were not killed often died of starvation while mourning the loss of their master.

It is thought to take some time for a person’s Spirit to leave the body completely and go on to the Sandhills. For that reason, a person would sometimes be brought back from death if he had unusual spiritual powers and had instructed a close friend or relative how to recall them. For the same reason, few people would touch a dead person or go near his burial ground, especially at night. It is said that a dead person’s Spirit, or ghost, often tries to persuade others to accompany it. Widows who commit suicide by their husbands’ graves are said to have been persuaded to join them on their way to the Sandhills. At the Sandhills it is said that life goes on much like here, only in Spirit. The Old Way of life is the one that goes on, of course.

[#22] Arthur Hungry Wolf, The Blood People : a division of the Blackfoot Confederacy : an illustrated interpretation of the old waysNew York: Harper & Row, 1977, pg. 228.

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