Nova Scotia·AKNUTE'N

Why Mi'kmaw communities hold an auction after a funeral

As Halifax prepares to host the North American Indigenous Games in July, Trevor Sanipass is acting as CBC's Information Morning guide to Mi'kmaq language and culture.

Salite' is a tradition that raises money to help families cover funeral costs

Trevor Sanipass shares the meaning behind the word salite in the latest instalment of his column with CBC's Information Morning Nova Scotia. 0:50

When Trevor Sanipass's father died, friends and family gathered with gifts that were auctioned off to help pay for the funeral. 

It's a Mi'kmaw tradition known as salite', which in English translates to "charity auction."

Sanipass, an educator from Eskasoni in Unama'ki, said after a funeral, people offer up some of their most prized possessions. The items are then auctioned off until enough money is collected to pay for all of the funeral arrangements. 

"I love how the community comes together as a group," Sanipass told CBC's Information Morning Nova Scotia.

"And it's not just Eskasoni, in our case, it's the surrounding communities as well."

As Halifax prepares to host the North American Indigenous Games in July, Trevor Sanipass is acting as Information Morning's guide to Mi'kmaw language and culture. (Emma Smith/CBC)

Salite' is just one way Mi'kmaw communities rely on one another to ease the burden during a time of loss, Sanipass said. 

Community members also offer up their time and expertise. 

After his father's death, Sanipass said people stopped by his mother's home to fix the broken staircase and take care of the cooking and cleaning. 

This allowed his family much-needed time to mourn and to begin making arrangements for the funeral, he said. 

Listen to Sanipass's full interview with Information Morning below.

Information Morning's Mi'kmaw culture columnist, Trevor Sanipass, tells us how community members come together when a friend or family member passes away. 7:18

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With files from CBC's Information Morning Nova Scotia