Last update: December 07, 2011, at 05:18 PM
The sweat lodge is a re-enactment of a return to our mother womb-like experience, which is the cleaning of the body, mind and spirit. People remove all accessories like watches, rings, and glasses, to remember that we came into this world without material possessions. It is a time of sharing our problems with other people and praying for the needs of our innermost self. Then after the rounds we re-enter creation reborn with New Hope and a changed attitude. The sweat lodge has been amongst our people long before the churches were built on our Reserves. This is where our people went to pray and come in contact with a Higher Power or Creator.
There are four rounds to each ceremony. Four rounds in honor of four grandparents or four directions. Six Colors are used in the sweat lodge ceremony.
Round 1 - in this round we honor Mother Earth, the Fire, Rocks, Water, and Steam Spirits. Prayers of thanks said by all the participating individuals. Sacred songs are sung, people can either pray silently in your traditional language or English. We ask Mother Sweat Lodge to purify our minds, bodies, and spirits to take away all our bad feelings, hurts, anger and resentments. A sweat is a place where we can cry, pray, sing and be able to humble ourselves and cry for our people.
Round 2 - in this round we honor all sisters, because women are the backbone of First Nation people and they have the gift of bringing new life into this world. We have to remember that some of our women got caught up in alcohol and drug abuse, they get weak and need our prayers and thanks. We pray for our Mothers, Sisters, Grandmothers, Nieces, Cousins, Aunts, Elders, Pipe Carriers, Spiritual Advisors and all Sisters pray for each other. We remember all our sisters that are in institutions, jails, battered women's homes and young sisters that are in foster homes. We ask the Creator to help them find their identities. Prayers are said and a sacred or sweat song is sung. Round 3 -in this round we honor all our Brothers. We remember our Fathers, Grandfathers, Uncles, Nephews, Cousins, Elders, Spiritual Advisors, Medicine People, Pipe Carriers, and if any of the above are in the Spirit world we still pray for them that their spirits are set free by their loved ones. We remember all our brothers in jails, institutions, jungles and skid row. We ask the Creator to forgive us and for our wrong doings, we humble ourselves and cry for our people. Sacred sweat lodge songs are sung.
Round 4 -in this round we honor ourselves now that we have prayed for everyone else. We ask the Creator to help us with our daily living problems and to work on our character defects.
Information to attend lodge
About Hwiemtun (Fred Roland)
Born and raised in Khowutzun (the ‘Warm Land’) by a Coast Salish mother and Hawaiian lineage father, Hwiemtun (Fred Roland) received many teachings of his Coast Salish culture. Through spending many years with elders of his territory, Hwiemtun learned the cultural and spiritual traditions of his ancestors. During the last 15 years, he has journeyed around the world to explore and share ways of being with elders and healers of many indigenous tribes. Visiting tribes such as the Makushi, Wapashani, Shipibo, and Yanamamo of South America; the Kajikhastani and Hungarian tribes of eastern Europe; and the Humung, Tai Muang, Ainu just to name a few, Hwiemtun also visited the elder monks of India, Nepal and Lhasa, Tibet. His journeys were also spent travelling within North America connecting with the Lakota, Cree, Blackfoot, and many tribes within British Columbia.
Hwiemtun’s connection to the spirit world, passion for story-telling and love of sharing diverse traditions of indigenous knowledge, has made it possible for him to bridge many worlds. Through sharing the gifts of oral history, music and ceremony, Hwiemtun has become an intercultural teacher and guide, nurturing transformation among many. Spiritually, Hwiemtun is a sweat lodge keeper, following the Lakota teachings, and a follower of Buddhism and spent two years working with the Maitreya Project throughout North America and Asia. He believes that we are all related in one way or another and this helps in achieving knowledge once we learn this clearly.
Hwiemtun has devoted his life to creating partnerships internationally, nationally and locally with organizations, youth programs, treatment centers, spiritual groups and tribes. He conducts presentations, workshops and ceremonies on a regular basis to promote understanding of indigenous ways of knowing. There are many other things that could be said about Hwiemtun, however, they can only be expressed in person.