These wide-ranging understandings of how death has meaning and relevance to the living all indicate how naturework can be performed in a number of ways. Deathways may serve to reinforce the human-nature dichotomy, as in contemporary traditional deathways, in which the corpse is alienated and commodified. They can also challenge the separation of humans from nature, as in the Blackfeet traditions, which are informed by their cultural understanding that humans and all other living things are related and interdependent.
Deathways in the United States are complex, dynamic and shifting. We have seen that there was a major change in how Americans interact with and understand death and corpses at the turn of the twentieth century, and we have also seen how that modern paradigm is being challenged and refined by the green burial and death positivity movements. In the face of modern environmental crises, American culture grapples with how we understand and define human-nature relations, and that struggle is reflected in the public discourse surrounding death and corpse disposition.
How will American deathways continue to change as we move farther into the twenty-first century? Whatever directions they take, it seems very likely they will continue to parallel American ways of relating to the natural world.