Home Discussion Forum Spiritually Speaking ... a question for Native Americans about sweat lodges ...?

Spiritually Speaking … a question for Native Americans about sweat lodges …?

I know of someone who does sweat lodges … she is Native American … but last time I mentioned it on here I got slammed by many Native Americans and it has really raised some questions in my own mind …
Is it forbidden to charge for sweat lodges ?
Are mixed lodges EVER acceptable?
Is there a limit on how many lodges you could/ should attend during a certain time period ?
Am I allowed as a person with no Native American blood to attend or is this a ceremony only for those who are Native American?
Is there anything I can do to show the proper respect for the tradition if I am going to attend?
Please realize I mean absolutely NO disrespect, I am truly looking for answers.
thank you for your help

6 COMMENTS

  1. My wife runs sweat lodges. We have a permanent one in our backyard. She doesn’t charge, but I know some that do. Usually its just a small amount to cover the cost of wood, etc. Most of her lodges are mixed. Show respect by being respectful. Stay focused on the focus of the lodge. Take it seriously.
    Caveat: my wife is not Native American. She went through rigorous training to do sweat lodges, but not by anyone Native American.

  2. i’m native so i’ll answer your question and star it so other natives on my contacts can as well.
    a legitimate native ceremony is performed by native people, raised in the culture and living among the people.
    it is always performed in the language of the nation, whichever it may be, not english.
    the person who is holding the ceremony does not advertise him or herself as a healer, a shaman (we do not have them), or a medicine person. they are simply known by their community and approached with an offering. sometimes it could be money depending on the situation but most often it is food or some other useful items. this is in recognition of the worth of having such a person in our midst. every one ( spiritual healer) i know is rather poor. the only ones you see growing rich by charging people for ceremonies are the fakes.
    sweat lodges are not from my nation. we do not use them. the nations that tradition come from can answer the specifics you have asked. i do know there is never any coed naked sweats like i have heard some fakes have held. yeah, thats some knid of convincing talk to get women to do that i am sure. there have been many such frauds arrested for sexual abuse and misconduct. they make gullible women think getting naked and being felt up is some kind of native ceremony..it isn’t! some have even convinced some women to have sex with them to be “healed”. other fakes have been imprisoned for child molestation and murder.
    generally speaking we (native nations) do not invite non natives into our ceremonies. its not, as some claim, because we think we are better or out of some hatred for whites. its to protect our ceremonies from being corrupted by those who would attend and then set up shop.
    imagine if a non catholic went to a mass then opened their own church and charged admission for a genuine service. how would actual catholics react? would they be ok with that? or any religion…jewish. can anyone be a rabbi by reading a book or two and attending a bar mitsvah once? of course not! neither can someone outside our communities be a ceremony leader. and the sure test is to see if they in fact hold ceremonies within native communities. if they don’t, its because they know they would be seen for what they are.
    i will probably get a lot of thumbs down because this is not what people want to hear. they hate being told no you can’t. but all across this land native people are saying no. no you can not have one of the last things we have that is ours alone. this fact alone brings out a lot of haters so…commence with the thumbs down. doesn’t matter.

  3. WOW Kanien you said it all lol…I don’t believe you mean any disrespect (the one asking the question here) but you have to understand…For one thing it takes years and I mean years to do a inipi it is not something that is learned on the internet or in books…its taught in person and takes YEARS to learn to do. Also not all tribes do inipi….(another misconception) now I too know of Natives who teach outsiders and personally I think it is wrong because in most cases these people go out claiming to be something they are not! and that’s how you get to people getting charged….like kanien has said here these ceremonies are done in our language and no one charges money…..maybe food or small items may be donated if the person wishes ….but no one is charging money (REAL Medicine people) do not do that….now if you come across someone claiming to be such a person to do sweats..and charging a price you better really look into it….most likey they are FAKE!….I have seen my own people doing this and as I have always said they will pay for it in the end….I do not go into someones church and say “Hey I am your spiritual adviser and if you want to come in here you have to pay a fee ….I hope the woman you speak of is not claiming cherokee…cause they never did inipi’s ….This is why I have high respect for Arvol Looking Horse…because he is trying to keep our ceremonies for us there is a reason for it….these things were given to us long ago and it is up to us to keep them they way they are suppose to be…..Not changed for the benefit of others…I hope you understand what I am saying here.

  4. For myself I offer the following responses:
    Is it forbidden to charge for sweat lodges ?
    Forbidden, no. Weird, definitely. I’ve been in lodges throughout my life and the most I “paid” was a pot of beans/stew. LOL. I think charging for wood is pretty lame.
    Are mixed lodges EVER acceptable?
    Mixed in what sense? Male/female? Native/NonNative? Some tribes do have lodge where men and women are in the lodge together but sit separately, men on one side and women on the other. Single gender lodge is the norm. Native/NonNative – I’ve seen it but don’t agree and will not participate in a lodge with nonNatives.
    Is there a limit on how many lodges you could/ should attend during a certain time period ?
    No, but it’s not an all you can eat buffet either, more of a “use as needed” event.
    Am I allowed as a person with no Native American blood to attend or is this a ceremony only for those who are Native American?
    It depends on who is running the lodge. In my family’s lodge, no you (as a nonNative person) are not allowed. However, different strokes for different folks and some do allow it. Heck, there are even some nonNatives who run lodge. *wacky* (See that other answer…)
    Is there anything I can do to show the proper respect for the tradition if I am going to attend?
    My advice is to not attend. While not every one speaks up, many will be offended by your simple presence.
    Like you, I mean no disrespect.

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