Will Missoula Lose Its Festival Of The Dead?

by William Skink

I’ve been thinking about death recently, and not just because I’ve been watching the American Horror Story take on our Trumpian horror show. And not because I’m reasonably certain my neighbor killed our family’s cat. And not because tomorrow, October 1st, marks a year since the worst mass shooting in American history, a shooting the “authorities” still don’t have a compelling motive for.

I’ve been thinking of death in less gruesome ways, like listening to a replay of On Being about Healing Our Fractured Civil Spaces on Abortion and seeing a post on FB about someone with terminal cancer being brave enough to live their end in a teachable way for others.

Locally, I’ve appreciated and participated in Missoula’s Day of the Dead celebration, later called Festival of the Dead, and now, apparently, rebranded as the Festival of Remembrance Procession after the procession of outrage erupted last year over accusations of cultural appropriation.

Will a name change be enough to appease the vocal minority clamoring for an end to this awful cultural transgression? I don’t know. What I do know is I would like a chance to help my kids process the grief over the death of our feline family member, and up until this year Day of the Dead has been that chance for us to remember all our dearly departed family members, some with more fur than others.

With the loss of the Indy still stinging, I hope another piece of Missoula doesn’t disappear.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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