Tu Moonwalker and Native American Funeral Rites

Tom Berner, professor emeritus of journalism and American studies at Pennsylvania State University, frequently shares obituaries through e-mail, Facebook and his blog, The Spectator.

Tu Moonwalker (Santa Fe New Mexican)In sending an obituary for Tu Moonwalker, he recently wrote that the items he has sent typically have been “fairly standard obits about interesting people who have done a lot.” Not so with Moonwalker. In Moonwalker’s case, Berner “was captivated first by her name.”

The obituary, which was published in the Santa Fe New Mexican, identifies Moonwalker as a Native American, spiritual teacher, artist, author and musician.

Berner found a follow-up to Moonwalker’s obit – Witness to a Native American Funeral – on The Family Plot Blog: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die.

“This was written by Gail Rubin, a member of New Mexico Presswomen,” Berner wrote. “What I liked about it is that it explains burial rituals not known to many people in the United States. Having attended Protestant, Catholic and Jewish funerals, I learned something more about death from this story.”


This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer who lives in Northeast Ohio. She is director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers.