The Sweat Lodge

Powerful Essays
The sweat lodge is a key healing and spiritual practice of most, if not all, Native American cultures. A variant of the sweat lodge is seen in those cultures from the artic to South America. It can be seen as a form of water therapy as it uses extreme heat and water to produce its effects. Specifically I will explain my personal journey and experience as a participant of a Mohawk sweat lodge. Each tribe has its own unique way of performing the sweat even if they all share the same base upon which to personalise it. The Mohawk sweat lodge that I attended on Thanksgiving last October is an experience I will not soon forget. It was an interesting blend of people coming together to share in a sacred experience for the spiritual healing of a friend. My friend is Mohawk and he gathered his five closest friends to join him; all of us Caucasians, the shaman/medicine man, the shaman 's wife (a medicine woman in here own right), the fire keeper and the woman in Hudson who graciously allowed us to use her land for this occasion. Names have purposely been omitted for the sake of anonymity as the type of sweat was one of personal healing and not a general sweat. The figures in the sweat are the shaman who directs and explains the procedure of the sweat and conducts it. The next figure is the fire keeper who tends the fire on which the stones for the sweat are heated and transfers them with the help of a pitchfork which he hands to the person closest to the entrance of the lodge as he does not enter the lodge. The final figure is the person being healed, in this case my friend. As this sweat was a personal healing we all had to be intimately involved in the preparations, we did not have to build the lodge only cover it with skins and tarps. The frame of the lodge had been built for a previous sweat. Before we could cover the lodge we had to lay down cedar on the floor of the lodge in an intricate manner based on the traditional beliefs of the Mohawk. This task is normally


Bibliography: Books Francis, Lee. Native Time: A Historical Timeline of Native America. 1996. Saint Martin 's Griffin Press: New York City. Internet http://college.hmco.com/history/readerscomp/naind/html/na_037800_sweatlodge.htm http://www.cyberbohemia.com/Pages/historysweatlod.htm http://www.indigenouspeople.net/sweatlod.htm http://www.welcomehome.org/rob/sweat/sweat.html

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Sweat lodges are commonly used in most Native American cultures as well as others. Many people who participate in sweat lodge ceremonies do so for various reasons and all have different outcomes. All tribes are unique and they all seek different benefits, individually and in a group.…

    • 569 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    The first rite is to renew life. Using a sweat lodge that resembles the dome shape of the universe and the womb of a pregnant woman, the Lakota people prayed for health and well being for all. They prayed for their loved ones’ spiritual and physical health through a ceremony inside the lodge. Hot stones were placed in the middle of the dark lodge and water was poured over the burning red stones creating steam. All necessities for good health were included in this ceremony: earth, water, fire and air (Powers, 2005).…

    • 1517 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Feather, Fran Dancing, and Rita Robinson. Exploring Native American Wisdom: Lore,Traditions, and Rituals That Connect Us All. Franklin Lakes, NJ: New Page, 2003. Print.…

    • 1021 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Child, B. J. (1999). Boarding school seasons: American Indian families, 1900-1940. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.…

    • 2180 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Better Essays

    Navajo Indians

    • 1099 Words
    • 5 Pages

    References: Csordas , T. (1999). Rituals healing and the politics of identity and contemporary Navajo society. American Ethnologist, 26(1), 1-11.…

    • 1099 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Body Rituals of the Nacirema tells a story of a tribal group’s lifestyle and the rituals of it. Miner is actually talking about the American culture. As most of us know, Nacirema is American spelled backwards. In this article, Miner’s intention is not to express the extreme human behavior with the Nacirema, but the way it affects our perception of an unfamiliar culture. If we were to look at the Nacirema’s behaviors with regards to appearance and hygiene without the slightest bit of knowledge about their culture, all of their actions might seem absurd and baffling. Ceremonies performed at the Latipso are among the most interesting practices of the Nacirema. Initially it puzzled me as to why people would fork out money for expensive gifts and willingly go to the temple when a full recovery or survival cannot be guaranteed. The rituals to exorcise sickness or purify patients are often more harmful than the sickness itself. A closer observation of the article indicated that the Latipso actually stands for a hospital, while the medicine men are doctors and the vestal maiden nurses. The temple seems to portray death to some but it is considered a haven for healing from within the civilization. Miner made the effort to allow others to realize that the way studies were representing distinctive culture was biased. Without the proper understanding of any society, cultural misunderstandings are bound to occur. While we take a step further into the discussion on the Nacirema as an alien group of people, we have to understand their customs and rituals from a cultural perspective. Nothing could be more interesting than to present a cultural analysis of the Nacirema and discern the true nature of their existence.…

    • 657 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Huskanaw Ceremony

    • 750 Words
    • 2 Pages

    A Huskanaw is a ceremony used by the Virginia Indians of the Powhatan Confederacy in which boys between the ages of ten and fifteen were prepared for manhood. Only fifteen of the finest young men in the tribe were chosen for the ceremony and it was considered a great honor to be chosen. In the Huskanaw ceremony, the boys were massed around the roots of a tree and five men came and gathered the chosen boys while enduring severe blows from the elders of the tribe. While that was happening, the mothers of the boys were weeping and preparing animals skins, mosses, and other sacred items for their sons’ funerals. After the five men gathered the boys, the tree was torn down and the boys were sent to the woods for nine months. During those months, the boys were held captive by the men they had been chosen by and were forced to drink of poisonous, hallucinogenic roots. In doing this, the boys were supposed to forget everything about their lives as children so that they can develop into men. In this essay I am going to describe what I believe it would be like to have undergone the Huskanaw ritual of the Powhatan Confederacy.…

    • 750 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Cited: Colin Calloway, New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), 150.…

    • 1277 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Historical Report on Race

    • 961 Words
    • 4 Pages

    References: White, R. (2011). Problems Facing Native Americans in the Modern World. Retrieved from http://robwrite.hubpages.com/…

    • 961 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    indian camp

    • 447 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Indian camp is set in North America, near St. Ignace close to Canada. We are not told directly when the story takes place, but because they don’t have any technology and they seem to be poor, could the story possibly take place in the beginning of the 20th century.…

    • 447 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The article “America Before Columbus” written by Lewis Lord and Sarah Burke intrigues readers interest and curiosity with an interesting topic of Native Americans and America before Columbus arrived. I will be discussing some ideas I summarized from this article.…

    • 393 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Hopi Indian Perspectives

    • 1105 Words
    • 5 Pages

    The Hopi peoples continue to thrive and preserve their culture for as long as humans have been known to inhabit this Earth. As Jake and Susanne Page maintain, “they are not only the oldest dwellers in this land but are considered by most other Native Americans to have a wisdom, a knowledge of things, beyond average comprehension” (1994:19). This wisdom comes from a deep connection to all things natural and of this Earth. The Hopis have always relied on nature to guide them spiritually, philosophically, as well as physically. They rely on word of mouth to pass down beliefs and teach values to each new generation so that the Hopivotskwani -the Hopi path of life- may continue on. (Parezo 1996:237) Through the examination of ethnographic accounts, we are able to gain insight on Hopi perspectives regarding their identity as a people, how they view the world we live in, and the importance of retaining their long practiced rituals and system of beliefs.…

    • 1105 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    former clients. Presented at the National Research Symposium on Native American Rehabilitation (1st, Scottsdale, AZ, September 9-12, 1986.)…

    • 2394 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Nacirema Tribe

    • 335 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Over 50 years ago, Horace Miner published a study on the Nacirema Tribe. In the study he talked about their body rituals, and revealed to the world every strange ritual these people had. After reading this study, I decided to do one for myself. So I visited the Nacirema tribe. The things I observed still puzzles me.…

    • 335 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Malinowski, Sharon, Anna J. Sheets, and Linda Schmittroth. U•X•L encyclopedia of Native American tribes. Detroit: U•X•L, 1999. Print.…

    • 1570 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays