Should only Native Americans conduct Sweat Lodge ceremonies?






I read about the Arizona Sweat Lodge tragedy in which several people died. It was said that James Arthur Ray, who was running the New Age program and the Sweat Lodge ceremony, may have abused some of the Native American’s methods and standards of facilitating one.


  1. Perhaps some kind of credential should be created, bestowed only by special Native American medicine people, to prove that a Sweat Lodge manager knows what they are doing.

  2. I agree that before a person operates a facility that could endanger people’s health, they should be certified, just as hospices are certified. There should be extensive training prior to allowing people to participate. However, not all the blame can be put on the facility owners, there is an assumed risk taken by people who subject themselves to potentially dangerous activities. Think of it this way, if you were to be injured while running with the bulls of Pamplona, would you sue the city of Pamplona? Didn’t you willingly take the risk?

  3. I’ll go even further.
    NOT only should they be Indian, they should ONLY be from the tribes that actually DO sweats in that manner.
    Not all tribes do that type of sweat, or sweats at all.

  4. Just wanted to back up “Brings Light” – cultural appropriation is the newest form of invasion – when we have taken land, liberty and everything else the only thing left to take is the content of people’s own hearts and minds and still we try to take more and more.
    “The last act of colonialism is for the dominant culture to completely supplant the Native one” Sherman Alexie.

  5. pretty soon your government will decide we need their permission to conduct our ceremonies that existed thousands of years before they did.
    until non native stop taking what is not theirs, these types of “accidents” will continue to happen. you are not entitled to everything you want and there are penalties to pay for taking what is not yours to take.
    have you learned this yet?

  6. It depends on who you ask. Some Sundance Intercessors allow all races to participate, and train some of them to conduct sweat lodge ceremonies. Others insist on allowing only Indian participants and water pourers. “May have abused” is a huge understatement, judging from all accounts to this point.

  7. I am a 100% Native American.
    And I read about that too…
    It made me put my face in my palm for about 5 minutes. THE STUPIDITY! They stuffed 60 people into that lodge. SIXTY! Then there is the issue of the length of time they spent in that lodge. And materials? You can’t just use anything to cover the the lodge.
    Certain Native American tribes have been doing this for quite some time, and therefore know how to do it properly. Without getting someone killed. I did a bit of digging and apparently they didn’t really seek out instructions from Native Americans on how to build one.
    And apparently they charged money to use it too….What a bastardization of the spirit of it all!

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