How is a medicine bag properly laid to rest after the owner has passed?
If the deceased was not Native American, it is a highly personal matter. The medicine bag and/or its contents could be buried with the deceased or passed along to a family member or friend if that is the owner’s intended desire or designation.
If the deceased was a Native American, it would be best to contact an elder, a medicine man, a shaman or healer from the tribe to learn the proper customs for the treatment of the medicine bag and its contents.
Although it is not customary for a Native American to be buried with his riches, it is customary to bury his medicine bag or totem with him unless he wills them away. A totem is an animal spirit that a person chooses (or the totem chooses the person) as an ally through life, so it is in death. A totem item, such as a carved stone fetish of the animal, might be included in the medicine bag.
In addition, some tribes bury food (a small sack of corn or beans), water, possibly tobacco and hunting tools, such as a bow, arrow and knife with the deceased for his journey.