Aboriginal Culture and Tradition
The gift of Sweetgrass, Sweat lodge and the Ceremony, The Medicine Wheel and The Spiritual Circle.
Sweetgrass - One of the gifts the Great Spirit gave to the indigenous people (Aboriginals) was the use of sweetgrass. Since ancient times aboriginal people have burned sweetgrass as an incense for purification whenever they pray to the Great Spirit. Sweetgrass (savastana odorata) is found throughout the plains of central Canada. Aboriginals believe it is one of the gifts of the Creator, and when used in a ceremony the smoke is used to carry our prayers.
The grandfathers and grandmothers in the spirit world hear their prayers and through the smoke carry them to the Great Spirit. Aboriginals believe that the animals know that sweetgrass is sacred and so even the buffalo will not eat it. The Plains Cree also learned through dreams and fasting, that sweetgrass is sacred and its purpose was to be used in a ceremonial manner.
The Sweat Lodge - For the Aboriginals the sweat is a ceremony that cleanses body, mind and spirit to make us pure for spirit ceremonies, vision quests and the rigors of everyday life.
Sweats may be held to ask a blessing or give thanks. Sometimes they occur before or after a difficult physical or spiritual journey (retreat). Still others are conducted as healing sweats for people who are suffering from an illness or an injury. Today the ceremony is an integral part of Native alcohol and drug treatment programs.
The construction of the lodge is a willow framework covered over with hides, blankets or canvas tarps. The placement of the door depends on what group of people you are with. The plains Cree have their door facing south. The Sioux put their door facing to the west. Other groups have the door facing to the east.
The MEDICINE WHEEL