“This place is so wild and beautiful. I can’t wait to die and be here forever!” – The Leathams
“Life is good but the after life at White Eagle will be wonderful.” – Kate O’Donnell
“Ekone is beautiful, I have fallen in love, and White Eagle Nature Preserve Cemetery is MORE than I could ever have imagined! I now know where my Earth suit will be laid to rest!”
– Sharie Campanella-Williams
“It was a wonderful experience to be at White Eagle with our son Orion. I know that he is in peace, here and beyond. Totally free. Thank you for creating a space where death feels so blessed and alive in spirit.” – Lee Nestor-Bigtree
‘I’ve been through the deaths of some close family members recently and I know how lost the entire family can feel when someone dies. I don’t want to do that to my family and friends if I can help it, you know? It doesn’t feel right. It would be a cruel thing. If I can arrange everything now, all the better for everyone who may be involved when the time comes. It’s really important to me on a very personal level to be buried at your burial ground. I’ll feel great comfort in knowing that my body will be laid to rest in such a beautiful natural place.” – Keith Joshua Davidson
“We very much enjoyed our visit with you and what we observed at White Eagle on Saturday. We would like to have stayed longer at the cemetery…so serene… AND to see the Eagle circling above the canyon to catch the thermal updraft was awesome!!” – WillaMae Gallahan
“The ceremony was nothing short of amazing and healing for all of us. My children were able to heal in what worked so very well for them. My youngest always says – “Grandpa is making that tree stronger Mommy!” Natural burial is simple and clear to them. This experience gave them the understanding that death is not complicated. They understand that we go back to the earth from which we came and give to it to help it continue to grow strong. Anytime we see a Lupine they acknowledge sprinkling the seeds on his grave. Sending the dove off, decorating their Grandfathers grave with elements of nature .. all these memories, makes them smile. It is a moment in time that we will all cherish forever. I thank you deeply for White Eagle Memorial and for the opportunity to fulfill my Fathers last wishes.” – Susan Heenan
“Like many people, throughout most of my life I had not given much thought to what will happen to my body when I die. When I did consider it, I imagined being buried out in the wild somewhere, perhaps in a remote canyon or desert hillside. However that scenario is unrealistic, given the legal barriers and logistical complexities. But I did not want to leave the end-of-life decisions to my survivors and I did not like the options of either cremation or conventional burial in a concrete vault.
I learned about the Sacred Earth Foundation’s White Eagle Memorial Preserve by searching online and was intrigued enough by what I read to travel with my spouse to have a look. It’s a long way from southern Arizona, but we lived most of our lives in Washington before coming to Arizona, so the area was not entirely unfamiliar. Our main concern was how to transport a body that far without embalming, but we were soon assured that would not be an issue. Embalming is not required for interstate transport and arrangements can be coordinated between undertakers in Arizona and Washington.
At the Preserve, which is a rich wildlife habitat of mixed pine and oak forest, grasses, and shrubs, Daniel showed us around and let us select two sites together: 800 square feet in total. Bear sign and several lizards guided us to our spot on the far corner of the burial ground. We will be buried side-by-side on one of the sites, leaving the other one vacant and wild. As the first to select a site in that part of the Preserve, we could name the region or “quadrant” for an indigenous plant or animal. The burial ground helps fund the work of the Foundation and the Ekone Summer Camps and environmental education programs, as well as additional trust land acquisition. The place is wild enough to satisfy my dream of a wilderness burial. Not only are we comforted having secured our spot in this beautiful place as our final earthly destination, by doing so we have saved a prime piece of natural real estate, leaving a legacy of support for wildness and a more natural approach to death”. – Chet Hedden
“It was immediately apparent that the planned one-hour visit was totally inadequate, and I knew that our schedule had completely unraveled. I decided not to worry about it too much. It was important to take the time to get to know these people, walk around the Preserve and choose Dad’s spot. It was time well spent. We chose a spot next to some magnificent old White Oak trees and native shrubs, overlooking grassy meadows and mountains. This serene, beautiful place will be a wonderful last home for Dad. After sipping tea, exchanging stories and signing the necessary papers, we bid farewell to our new friends.
With personal directions in hand this time, and nearly four hours late, we headed home. Seriously worried about staying awake enough to drive safely, I tanked up on the mega-caffeine coffee that gas stations along busy freeways sell to bleary-eyed truck drivers. For someone like me, who doesn’t normally drink coffee, it did the trick. Dad and I had a great time together, talking about the day and listening to a favorite book on tape. His intermittent back massages felt so good. Dad was a real trooper, wide awake, cheerful and kind, like he usually is. Well after dark, we arrived at my house, greeted my husband and dogs and rolled into bed (there was no way Dad could keep driving to his house).
The next morning, while running through the woods near my home and reflecting on the trip, it dawned on me: this road trip was a metaphor for Dad’s decision about his burial. The technical constructs of my computer-aided schedule and GPS navigation didn’t work too well for this trip, any more than a technical burial would work for Dad. This trip was about the natural way of doing things, and letting things unfold naturally. Choosing a final resting place and visiting with old and new friends shouldn’t be rushed. When Dad is at last resting among the White Oaks and Ponderosa Pines, he will nourish new growth according to nature’s schedule. And with that realization, I let go, and guess what? My back pain was no more. The road trip was a great gift from my father, and I will cherish it always. Who knows, maybe one day I will nourish some trees and grasses near his.” -Karen Shill
“I love White Eagle. As soon as I saw it I knew that I had found the place where my body would be at home. The all natural setting was beautiful but most of all I was impressed with the people who were working the ranch portion. Everyone was warm and friendly and I felt a close kinship at first contact. I am so glad I found you. There is a peaceful atmosphere and I love the fact that it is a working horse ranch. You are doing a wonderful job of providing a place for those of us who want to have a natural burial and be returned to the Earth.” – Ben Hursh