What is Memorial Potlatch? A memorial potlatch is a celebration to help move people who have passed from this life to their new life, as well as to allow the family and community to show respect and honor to that person by sharing a last meal with the person who passed. The potlatch lasts three days. Pollock shared, “There are other kinds of potlatches on New Year’s Eve and 4th of July.”
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Showing Respect and Honor People often wear traditional clothing. Men wear a white shirt and a moose skin vest to show respect. Women wear bets'egh hoolaanee. To allow the one who has passed time to rest, things are quieter in the village and homes during the time between the passing and the time of burial. Women do not sew or work on beadwork during this time. Fiddle dance at the end of a potlatch shows respect.
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Long Ago Grandpa Linburg remembers his first potlatch from1938. He was excited to visit Allakaket. The trip from the fish camp was by boat and took a few days.
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How They Lay Out the Memorial Potlatch for the Community Today, a blue tarp is laid in the middle of the room with all the food in various size pots and pans to be distributed to the family and community. Next, according to Grandma Becky, they spread white paper for the children to sit and eat in front of the adults. The parents sit on benches and the Elders sit at tables.