River Crossing Burial Ground will be a natural cemetery, a place for Green Burial. Instead of concrete vaults and burying plastic and metal as happens in mainstream cemeteries, humans can be shrouded or placed in a woven or wooden casket. Bodies become enveloped in the earth and feed new life, just as the rest of nature does in death. Imagine – coming back year after year to tend a grove of huckleberries growing over your loved ones.
(Even though we can't bury humans here yet, we are open to non-human companions)
All humans have ancestors who cared for their own dead, who performed ceremony as a part of body disposition. Numerous historical and current forces seek to disconnect us from our own dead, and from the reality of the human body as a part of the natural cycle. This cemetery offers a space for people to explore re-weaving connection with the dead, and with the earth. It may also be a space for you to carry out your own traditions with privacy and as few limitations as possible. This cemetery will exist as a part of the fabric of community and will evolve to meet the needs of community members as they arise.
The vision is to slowly transform the open fields at the property in Cinebar, Washington into a permaculture-based sanctuary that produces food, woven with beauty and intention, and sprinkled with sacred spots. The land, largely cleared to graze cattle, still holds many maples, cedars, salmonberries, nettles, and a creek with an old homestead house.
Here is some of what will be offered:
-Central fire pit
-Indoor and outdoor space for gathering and ceremony
-Opening and closing of the grave via hand digging or mechanical aids
-Partnership and flexibility in selecting plants for the plots after burial
-Sliding scale and-low cost options for burial for Black and Indigenous people and/or folx in need
-Camping for community members of the buried humans
-Full moon dances and other events
-Community partnerships and educational events on the land
-Ease of collaboration for those doing home funerals and death doulas
-Natural material options for markers
(all pictures are from River Crossing Burial Ground)
The land has been purchased in full, as required by Washington State law. Now we only need the $25,000 that Washington state requires to be in trust to care for the land – that is the last major barrier to being able to legally bury people there. That is where the invitation lies – to help fund the amount to go into trust for perpetuity for maintaining the land. As soon as the goal here is reached, the amount will be matched and the land will be declared a cemetery.
River Crossing Burial Ground is a non-profit entity registered with Washington state.
We acknowledge that the land of this burial ground is stolen territory of the Cowlitz tribe and pay respect to the tribe’s past, present, and future members.