Honoring a Funeral in a Nadleh and Stellat’en Territory
Bhallats Ceremonies, an intricate part of the political and economic patterns of the Nadleh/
Stellat’en territory is defined as a gathering of invited guests that feasts and dances. In addition to
annual celebrations, the appointment of a leader, the death of a family member, a marriage celebration,
or a victory over an enemy were some of the reasons to hold particular ceremonies. The tradition of
Bhallats was also enjoyed as a social function and family gathering, it is part of expressing and sharing
their culture with variety of tribes.
When a person from the community passes away, the clan is already in place and it is an
operation throughout the person’s life. When a person dies, there are number of tasks and obligations
that need to be done efficiently to celebrate the respect and honor of a person’s death in a community
or clan. Having a family member die is one of the most tragic incidents that can happen in human nature
yet the Nadleh and Stellat’en community is one that puts hard work, determination and value as a
cultural group to show respect and love for one’s loss.
The Nadleh and Stellat’en community begins the funeral process by having a Smoke Party which
is the organization abilities, responsibility tasks and the preparation for the funeral. These qualities are
bold factors when it comes down to the final event. The purpose of the Smoke Party is to hire deceased
person’s father’s clan as workers – siblings, cousins, and anyone that is considered family within the
Funeral in a First Nation Territory 2
clan. The family usually takes care of the funeral details and is responsible for a lot of duties such as the
clothing (who is washing and dressing?) grave site (the location, the appearance of it) transportation of
body (who stays up with the deceased member?) Preparing the food for guests, purchasing gifts, who is
hired to be the event...