Ceremonial Sweat with the Coast Salish Tribe

I was privileged to be invited to a traditional “Sweat” by Christian (co-director of BY Commercial Drive). Christian spent his childhood growing up with the Coast Salish Tribe from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and is a Fire Bearer for the Sweat every Monday evening. The Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Children of Takaya | Wolf Clan are the first nation people of the Burrard Inlet, Vancouver.

The “Sweat” or ceremonial sauna and was lead by the ceremonial chief, Klose (Ruben), grandson of Chief Dan George. I took part in five rounds which include praying, chanting, songs and medicinal herbs. Each round, in turn was dedicated to women, men, introspection, self and the warrior. At the start of each round more glowing rocks are brought into the sweat lodge from the large fire outside, before the door is shut tight, total darkness descends and you hold on to, or let go of.. whatever brought you along.

There was a record number attending and it was hard going tucked up in the back of the Sweat Lodge for the first round. Claustrophobia enveloped me and I was close to uttering “All my relations, open the door” but I managed to brave it, moving closer to the door for the remaining rounds.

Many thanks to Ruben, Christian and those attending for the experience.

I didn’t think it appropriate to take any photos or video as I’m sure you can appreciate.

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