The Makah tribe of Native Americans believe powerful spiritual forces inhabit the world, and these forces are power sources that human beings can use for good or evil. The Makah religion is more concentrated on the power of healing and inspiring happiness in its members than on presenting moral guidelines for them.
Adherents of the Makah religion believe that living things return to the world after they die and haunt locations they were attached to during life. The Makah ritual burial ceremony involves setting the deceased individual's possessions on fire and then throwing the cadaver onto the beach. In some cases, certain possessions are not destroyed by fire, but distributed to strangers and non-family members. Family members of deceased Makah risk being haunted by keeping personal possessions.
Two of the major mythological figures of the Makah are the Hohoeapbess, brothers of the Sun and the Moon, who the Makah believe are responsible for the current form of animals, humans and landscapes. Raven is a benevolent figure in Makah mythology. A malevolent figure is Sxwayok, who the Makah believe carries children away in a basket and eats them.
Another feature of Makah religion is the empowerment of specific families to administrate cultural events. Tradition restricts anyone but members of certain Makah families from performing at weddings or naming ceremonies.