Tag Archives: octagon house

Death rituals

Below the link to my paper “Death and Ecology in Mateel,” published in the Northwest Journal of Anthropology.


coffin detail ed

On the right, detail of the coffin built by neighbors for a woman who died in a car crash early in the 1970s., mentioned in the article above. The coffin was made of prize wood from redwood burls, except for this star, probably of teak.





Below, photos of a recent ceremony for the Beginnings Volunteer Fire Chief, Tim Olsen. This was the death of what anthropologists call a “big man” so his death was commemorated with very much more ceremony than is usual, including services in the mainstream community involving local VFDs, that are not pictured.

Olsen funeral 1


Olsen funeral 2




Olsen funeral 4

Click anywhere on the link below for another photo

Beginnings, Inc.

octagon thru trees iph

One of the earliest of Shummian organizations to form was Beginnings, Inc., a group of people who raised money and bought land communally, as a legal non-profit, then became an umbrella organization that eventually included a community center, several schools, a Tae Kwan Do dojo and, by no means least, a volunteer fire department. Beginnings grew from a smaller organization, a Montessori pre-school called Children’s House.

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