'Take charge': Why a Sask. woman wanted to help create an end of life guide for Indigenous people
SASKATOON -- Myrna LaPLante’s father was a residential school survivor and she is part of Saskatoon's Indian Residential School Survivors’ Circle, which has created When the Time Comes, an end of life planning guide for Indigenous people.
LaPlante lost her father Raymond LaPLante in 2006, he was 86. It was important for her to be part of the eight-member, and two-elder advisory committee that created the handbook.
“Times are changing and it’s important for Indigenous people to take control and take charge" of end-of-life arrangements, LaPlante told CTV News.
The guide is designed to be a culturally appropriate, step by step manual to help Indigenous people navigate the many decisions and tasks that must be made when someone passes.
The goal of the guide is to initiate conversations before people die and to help the living with the process.
LaPlante says, in many cases, Indigenous people have family or people in their community handle their funerals or other end of life details, but in some situations, Indigenous and Northern Affairs can step in which she says can be problematic especially when there are assets involved.
LaPlante hopes the guide which looks at cultural protocols and customs gives Indigenous people the tools they need to face this inevitable part of life.
The guide explores traditional feast and food services, giving away possessions, coping with grief, and powers of attorneys to look after health care needs and finances if one becomes incapable.
There is also useful information on creating a will and is organized with a checklist of important documents needed and where they can be located.
The guide has been made available on the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation website.