Pasqua First Nation elder Lindsay Cyr says a sweat is about healing and prayer. (CBC News) On Sunday, elders came together with students and community members to take part in a traditional ceremony — a chance for people to learn about Indigenous spirituality.
"The ceremony that we’re going through right now is a prayer ceremony where we have a pipe ceremony, we do the pipe ceremony, then we go inside the lodge and we do prayers and songs," explained elder Lindsay Cyr of Pasqua First Nation.
"To us, singing is no different than praying verbally. Beating on the drum or dancing is all the same."
The elders gathered with six participants who were brought to Open Sky Retreat, sacred grounds right outside Regina, by the group Student Energy in Action for Regina Community Health, a student-led healthcare initiative operated out of the Four Directions Community Health Centre in North Central.
The non-profit’s executive director explained they have been trying to build more cultural capacity amongst volunteers and members. Friedrich Morhart says he wanted to take part in a sweat to gain a cultural experience. (CBC News) In the past, they have gathered with Indigenous elders for a feast, but Sunday was the first time they offered a chance for people to participate in a sweat lodge ceremony.
"For myself, to be able to take part in a sweat is an opportunity to connect further with those that I work with within the community," said Kelly Husack.
"It also allows us the opportunity to heal as a community, so gaining more time and exposure to the ceremonies and practices that allow us to continue and become stronger in our lives."
Friedrich Morhart is an educator and volunteer with the initiative and decided to take part in Sunday’s ceremony in order to have a cultural experience
"I’ll be teaching a variety of students from cultures probably not just within Canada, but all over the world and it’s important that I have a variety of experiences with different cultures, so that I can understand my students better."
Candice Kreps was also taking party in Sunday’s ceremony.
"I think it’s just really important for everyone to learn about the culture of the Indigenous people here in Canada."
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