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Paramedicine Across Canada Expo is honoured to offer PACE 2019 attendees the opportunity to experience a traditional First Nations Sweat lodge ceremony. The main purpose of a sweat lodge ceremony is to provide cleansing and healing to support you throughout your life journey. Depending on the Elder/Sweat Lodge Conductor/Teacher they may have the gifts to heal, give names, clans, and colours.

Space is limited at each ceremony, so delegate registrations will be accepted on a first come first served basis.

What is a Sweat Lodge

Sweat lodges are used by Indigenous peoples during certain purification rites and as a way to promote healthy living. The intense heat generated — often by steam created from pouring water onto heated rocks — is meant to encourage a sweating out of toxins and negative energy that create disorder and imbalance in life. In this way, the sweat lodge ceremony cleanses the body, mind and soul.

Each sweat lodge is slightly different, depending on the community or person who operates it, and the purpose for which it is used. Despite these differences, there are important commonalities among sweat lodge ceremonies. Most importantly, the sweat lodge is a sacred place, likened to the womb of Mother Earth. Sweats are therefore deeply spiritual and cultural experiences for many people.

Sweat lodges are run by special operators — sometimes called keepers, and oftentimes an elder or healer — who are well versed in traditional healing and sweat lodge practices. The operator knows how to conduct sweats safely and effectively, and for various purposes. It is customary to offer the Elder/Sweat Lodge Conductor/Teacher cloth or tobacco for their services.

Offerings:

Tobacco is passed to the Elder/Sweat Lodge Conductor/Teacher. If they accept your offering it means they are committed to running the sweat lodge and they will give teachings and provide healing. The teaching of passing tobacco is that enough tobacco needs to be passed to fill an Elder’s pipe for prayers. When asking for healing in the sweat lodge an offering of berries is recommended and they may be brought in a non-metal container.

Responsibilities:

Individuals are responsible for providing their own tobacco and berries (if asking for healing), water, towels, skirts, and sweat lodge clothing.

Men can wear shorts and a T-shirt.   Men may sit cross legged in the lodge.

Women can wear a flannel nightgown that reaches the ankles, or a skirt and a T-shirt.  *Women sit with their legs together, underneath them or to the side.  Women are asked to wear a skirt when attending all ceremonies with the exception of LGBTTQQIASP* this will be respected and left up to the discretion of the individual Sweat Lodge Conductor*.

Towels are recommended.  Change rooms are available.

All participants must abstain from drugs and alcohol for a minimum of four days before entering the sweat lodge ceremony.

All participants are to be on their best behavior in the sweat lodge area and take direction from the Elder/Sweat Lodge Conductor/Teacher that is there running the lodge.

All participants when participating in the Sweat Lodge Ceremony will help prepare the lodge, spend time with the sacred fire, and help clean up after the Sweat Lodge Ceremony is over.  This is about giving back to the community and the Elder that has provided healing and precious time to help you on your life journey.  The amount of time and effort you put into your spiritual walk is what you will get out of your spiritual walk.

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