What is the proper etiquette for Sweat Lodge ceremonies?

What is the proper etiquette for Sweat Lodge ceremonies?

First Nations Elders recommend that each person enters the Sweat Lodge with appropriateness, kindness, and with prayers. Participants have their own reasons for participating in a Sweat Lodge ceremony and participants should undertake the Sweat Lodge ceremony with postive energies, feelings and emotions. First Nations Elders are role models that exemplify this behaviour and mindset. As in any ceremony, appropriate dress and attire is needed. It is suggested that women wear a long dress, covering the upper body and the lower body and carry a towel to cover one's self. It is suggested that men wear shorts with a towel wrapped around their waist. Most Elders suggest that women sit to one side (usually the left of the lodge and up to the middle) and the men sit to the other side. During their menstrual cycle, women do not participate in Sweat Lodges. Speaking is not recommended unless the participant has a reason such as asking for prayers, healing or other such matters. It is suggested that those seeking prayers or healing bring tobacco and cloth (print) to the Sweat Lodge. Whatever else the person brings as a gift is up to the individual. It is widely considered inappropriate to walk between the Sweat Lodge and the fire used to heat the stones. Glasses, jewelry, earrings and cellphones should be removed. There will be berries, fish or other food offered during or after the Sweat Lodge. A participant should not refuse the food offered unless there are health reasons such as allergies. Sweat Lodge protocols and methodologies vary among First Nations. In the past, among the Nehiyaw and Nahkawe, men and women normally had separate Sweat Lodges. Among First Nations today, it is more common for men and women to share Sweat Lodges. The individual leading the Sweat Lodge will give guidance on this matter. The First Nations Elder or Knowledge Keeper conducting a Sweat Lodge will bear in mind the health and well-being of the participants. All First Nations Sweat Lodge ceremonies are intended for prayer and healing. Participating in a Sweat Lodge ceremony can be difficult. In general, each person may leave the Sweat Lodge if they are feeling unwell of feel that they are not able to finish.

(Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre)

    Contact Us:

  • Suite 1 - 1970 Island Diesel Way
    Nanaimo, BC, Canada, V9S 5W8
    Phone: 250.758.4287
    Toll Free: 1.888.278.2202
© Copyright 2005 - 2017 Strong Nations Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Shipping Policy.