The sun dance is a ceremony practiced by some Indigenous people of United States of America and Canada those of the Plains cultures. It involves the community gathering together to pray for healing. Individuals make personal sacrifices on behalf of the community. After European colonization of the Americas, with the formation of the Canadian and United States governments, both countries passed laws intended to suppress Indigenous cultures and encourage assimilation to majority-European culture, they banned Indigenous ceremonies and, in many schools and other areas, prohibited Indigenous people from speaking their native languages. In some cases they were not allowed to visit sacred sites when these had been excluded from the territory of community; the sun dance was one of the prohibited ceremonies, as was the potlatch of the Pacific Northwest peoples. Canada lifted its prohibition against the practice of the full ceremony in 1951, but in the United States, Indigenous peoples were not allowed to practice the sun dance or other sacred ceremonies until the late 1970s, after they gained renewed sovereignty and civil rights following a period of high activism, including legal challenges to the government.
Congress passed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act in 1978, enacted to protect basic civil liberties, to protect and preserve the traditional religious rights and cultural practices of American Indians, Eskimos and Native Hawaiians. Several features are common to the ceremonies held by sun dance cultures; these include dances and songs passed down through many generations, the use of a traditional drum, a sacred fire, praying with a ceremonial pipe, fasting from food and water before participating in the dance, and, in some cases, the ceremonial piercing of skin and a trial of physical endurance. Certain plants are prepared for use during the ceremony; the sun dance is a grueling ordeal for the dancers, a physical and spiritual test that they offer in sacrifice for their people. According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, young men dance around a pole to which they are fastened by "rawhide thongs pegged through the skin of their chests."While not all sun dance ceremonies include piercing, the object of the sun dance is to offer personal sacrifice for the benefit of one's family and community.
The dancers fast for many days, in the open whatever weather occurs. At most ceremonies, family members and friends stay in the surrounding camp and pray in support of the dancers. Much time and energy by the entire community are needed to conduct the sun dance gatherings and ceremonies. Communities organize for at least a year to prepare for the ceremony. One leader or a small group of leaders are in charge of the ceremony, but many elders help out and advise. A group of helpers do many of the tasks required to prepare for the ceremony; as this is a sacred ceremony, people are reluctant to discuss it in any great detail. Given a long history of cultural misappropriation, Indigenous people are suspicious that non-Indigenous people may abuse or misuse the traditional ways. Elders and medicine men are concerned that the ceremony should only be passed along in the right ways; the words used at a sun dance are in the native language and are not translated for outsiders. Not talking about this ceremony is part of the respect the people display for it.
In addition, the detailed way in which a respected elder speaks and explains a sun dance to younger members of the community is unique and not quoted, nor is it intended for publication. In 1993, responding to what they believed was a frequent desecration of the sun dance and other Lakota sacred ceremonies, US and Canadian Lakota and Nakota nations held "the Lakota Summit V", it was an international gathering of about 500 representatives from 40 different peoples and bands of the Lakota. They unanimously passed the following'Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality': "Whereas sacrilegious "sundances" for non-Indians are being conducted by charlatans and cult leaders who promote abominable and obscene imitations of our sacred Lakota sundance rites. We hereby and henceforth declare war against all persons who persist in exploiting and misrepresenting the sacred traditions and spiritual practices of the Lakota and Nakota people." - Mesteth, Wilmer, et al In 2003, the 19th-Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe of the Lakota asked non-Indigenous people to stop attending the sun dance.
This statement was supported by keepers of sacred bundles and traditional spiritual leaders from the Cheyenne, Dakota and Nakota nations, who issued a proclamation that non-Indigenous people would be banned from sacred altars and the Seven Sacred Rites and the sun dance, effective March 9, 2003 onward: The Wi-wanyang-wa-c'i-pi: The only participants allowed in the centre will be Native People. The non-Native people need to respect our decision. If there have been any unfinished commitments to the sundance and non-Natives have concern for this decision. Our purpose for the sundance is for the survival of the future generations to come and foremost. If the non-Natives understand this purpose, they will understand this decision and know that by their departure from this Ho-c'o-ka is their sincere contribution to the survival of our future generations. Though only some nations' sun dances include the body piercings, the Canadian government outla
Anishinaabe is the autonym for a group of culturally related indigenous peoples in what is known today as Canada and the United States. These include the Odawa, Ojibwe, Oji-Cree, Algonquin peoples; the Anishinaabeg speak Anishinaabemowin, or Anishinaabe languages that belong to the Algonquian language family. They lived in the Northeast Woodlands and Subarctic; the word Anishinaabeg translates to "people from whence lowered." Another definition refers to "the good humans," meaning those who are on the right road or path given to them by the Creator Gitche Manitou, or Great Spirit. Basil Johnston, an Ojibwe historian and author, wrote that the term's literal translation is "Beings Made Out of Nothing" or "Spontaneous Beings." Anishinaabe myths claim. Anishinaabe is mistakenly considered a synonym of Ojibwe. Anishinaabe has many different spellings. Different spelling systems may spell certain consonants differently; the name Anishinaabe is shortened to Nishnaabe by Odawa people. The cognate Neshnabé comes from the Potawatomi, a people long allied with the Odawa and Ojibwe in the Council of Three Fires.
The Nipissing and Algonquin are identified as Anishinaabe, but are not part of the Council of Three Fires. Related to the Ojibwe and speaking a language mutually intelligible with Anishinaabemowin are the Oji-Cree, their most common autonym is Anishinini and they call their language Anishininiimowin. Among the Anishinaabeg, the Ojibwe collectively call the Nipissings and the Algonquins Odishkwaagamii, while those among the Nipissings who identify themselves as Algonquins call the Algonquins proper Omàmiwinini. Not all Anishinaabemowin-speakers call themselves Anishinaabeg; the Ojibwe people who moved to what are now the prairie provinces of Canada call themselves Nakawē and call their branch of the Anishinaabe language Nakawēmowin.. Particular Anishinaabeg groups have different names from region to region. According to Anishinabe tradition, from records of wiigwaasabak, the people migrated from the eastern areas of North America, from along the East Coast. In old stories, the homeland was called Turtle Island.
This comes from the idea that the universe, the Earth, or the continent of North America are all sometimes understood as being the back of a great turtle, a mysterious natural consciousness. The Anishinaabe oral history considers the Anishinaabe peoples as descendents of the Abenaki people and refers to them as the "Fathers". Another Anishinaabe oral history considers the Abenaki as descendents of the Lenape, thus refers to them as "Grandfathers". However, Cree oral traditions consider the Anishinaabe as their descendants, not the Abenakis. A number of complementary origin concepts exist within the oral traditions of the Anishinaabe. According to the oral history, seven great miigis appeared to the Anishinaabe peoples in the Waabanakiing to teach the people about the midewiwin life-style. One great miigis was too spiritually powerful and would kill people in the Waabanakiing whenever they were in its presence; this being returned to the depths of the ocean, leaving the six great miigis to teach the people.
The Anishinaabe are one of the First Nations in Canada. Each of the six miigis established separate doodem for the people. Of these doodem, five clan systems appeared: Awaazisii, Aan'aawenh and Moozoonii. A sixth was added. Waabizheshi. After founding the doodem, the six miigis returned to the depths of the ocean as well; some oral histories surmise that if the seventh miigis had stayed, it would have established the Animikii Thunderbird doodem. The powerful miigis returned in a vision relating a prophecy to the people, it said that the Anishinaabeg needed to move west to keep their traditional ways alive, because of the many new settlements and people not of Anishinaabe blood who would soon arrive. The migration path of the Anishinaabe peoples would become a series of smaller Turtle Islands, confirmed by the miigis shells. After receiving assurance from their "Allied Brothers" and "Father" of their safety in crossing other tribal territory, the Anishinaabeg moved inland, they advanced along the St. Lawrence River to the Ottawa River and through to Lake Nipissing, to the Great Lakes.
The first of these smaller Turtle Islands was Mooniyaa. Here the Anishinaabeg divided into two groups: one that travelled up and settled along the Ottawa River, the core group who proceeded to the "second stopping place" near Niagara Falls. By the time the Anishinaabeg established their "third stopping place" near the present city of Detroit, the Anishinaabeg had divided into six distinct nations: Algonquin, Missisauga, Ojibwa and Potawatomi. While the Odawa established their long-held cultural centre on Manitoulin Island, the Ojibwe established their centre in the Sault Ste. Marie region of Ontario, Canada. With expansion of trade with the French and the British, fostered by avai
A powwow is a social gathering held by many different Native American communities. A modern pow wow is a specific type of event for Native American people to meet and dance, sing and honor their cultures. Pow wows may be public. There is a dancing competition, with many different types of traditional dances and regalia with significant prize money awarded. Pow wows vary in length from a one-day event, to major pow wows called for a special occasion which can be up to one week long. In popular culture, such as older Western movies, the term has been used to describe any gathering of Native Americans, or to refer to any type of meeting, such as among military personnel; this usage is sometimes discouraged because it can be seen as minimizing the cultural and ceremonial importance of pow wows. The word “pow wow” is derived from the Narragansett word powwaw, meaning "spiritual leader"; the term itself has different variants including Powaw, Pawaw and Pawau. A number of different tribes claim to have held the “first” pow wow.
Public dances that most resemble what we now know as pow wows were most common in the Great Plains region of the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a time when the United States government fragmented many Native communities in the hopes of acquiring land for economic exploitation. In 1923, Charles Burke, Commissioner of Indian Affairs in the United States, passed legislation modeled on Circular 1665, which he published in 1921, that limited the times of the year in which Native Americans could practice traditional dance, which he deemed as directly threatening the Christian religion. However, many Native communities continued to gather together in secret to practice their cultures’ dance and music, in defiance of this, other, legislation. By the mid-nineteenth century, pow wows were being held in the Great Lakes region. Planning for a pow wow begins months even a year, in advance of the event by a group of people referred to as a pow wow committee. Pow wows may be sponsored by a tribal organization, by an American Native community within an urban area, a Native American Studies program or American Native club on a college or university campus, tribe, or any other organization that can provide startup funds and volunteer workers.
A pow wow committee consists of a number of individuals. If a pow wow has a sponsor, such as a tribe, college, or organization, many or all members of the committee may come from that group; the committee is responsible to recruit and hire the head staff, publicize the pow wow, secure a location, recruit vendors who pay for the right to set up and sell food or merchandise at the pow wow. The head staff of a pow wow are the people who run the event on the day or days it occurs, they are hired by the pow wow committee several months in advance, as the quality of the head staff can affect attendance. To be chosen as part of the head staff is an honor, showing respect for the person's skills or dedication; the arena director is the person in charge during the pow wow. Sometimes the arena director is referred to as the whip man, sometimes the whip man is the arena director's assistant, many pow wows don't have a whip man; the arena director makes sure dancers are dancing during the pow wow and that the drum groups know what type of song to sing.
If there are contests the arena director is responsible for providing judges, though they have another assistant, the head judge. The arena director is responsible for organizing any ceremonies that may be required during the pow wow, such as when an eagle feather is dropped, others as required. One of the main duties of the arena director is to ensure that the dance arena is treated with the proper respect from visitors to the pow wow; the master of ceremonies, or MC, is the voice of the pow wow. It is his job to keep the singers and public informed as to what is happening; the MC sets the schedule of events, maintains the drum rotation, or order of when each drum group gets to sing. The MC is responsible for filling any dead air time that may occur during the pow wow with jokes; the MC runs any raffles or other contests that may happen during the pow wow. The head dancers consist of the Head Man Dancer and the Head Woman Dancer, Head Teen Dancers, Head Little Boy and Girl Dancers, Head Golden Age Dancers, a Head Gourd Dancer if the pow wow has a Gourd Dance.
The head dancers lead the other dancers in the grand entry or parade of dancers that opens a pow wow. In many cases, the head dancers are responsible for leading the dancers during songs, dancers will not enter the arena unless the head dancers are out dancing; the singers while singing. Host drums are responsible for singing the songs at the beginning and end of a pow wow session a starting song, the grand entry song, a flag song, a veterans or victory song to start the pow-wow, a flag song, retreat song and closing song to end the pow wow. Additionally, if a pow-wow has gourd dancing, the Southern Host Drum is the drum that sings all the gourd songs, though another drum can perform them; the host drums are called upon to sing special songs during the pow-wow. Famous host drums include Black Lodge Singers, Cozad Singers, Yellowhammer. A pow wow is set up as a series of large circles; the center circle is the dance arena, outside of, a larger circle consisting of the MC's table, drum groups, sitting areas for dancers and their families.
Beyond these two circles for participants is an area for spectators, while outside of all are designated areas with vendo
A sweat lodge is a low profile hut dome-shaped or oblong, made with natural materials. The structure is the lodge, the ceremony performed within the structure may be called a purification ceremony or a sweat. Traditionally the structure is simple, constructed of saplings covered with blankets and sometimes animal skins, it was only used by some of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, notably the Plains Indians, but with the rise of pan-Indianism, numerous nations that did not have the sweat lodge ceremony have adopted it. This has been controversial. In all cases, the sweat is intended as a religious ceremony – it is for prayer and healing, the ceremony is only to be led by elders who know the associated language, songs and safety protocols. Otherwise, the ceremony can be dangerous. Sweat lodges have been imitated by some non-natives in North America and internationally, resulting in responses like the Lakota Declaration of War and similar statements from Indigenous Elders declaring that these imitations are dangerous and disrespectful misappropriations and need to stop.
Native Americans in many regions have sweat lodge ceremonies. For example, Chumash peoples of the central coast of California build sweat lodges in coastal areas in association with habitation sites; the ancient Mesoamerican tribes of Mexico, such as the Aztec and Olmec, practiced a sweat bath ceremony known as temazcal as a religious rite of penance and purification. Traditions associated with sweating vary culturally. Ceremonies include traditional prayers and songs. In some cultures drumming and offerings to the spirit world may be part of the ceremony, or a sweat lodge ceremony may be a part of another, longer ceremony such as a Sun Dance; some common practices and key elements associated with sweat lodges include: Training – Indigenous cultures with sweatlodge traditions require that someone go through intensive training for many years to be allowed to lead a lodge. One of the requirements is that the leader be able to pray and communicate fluently in the indigenous language of that culture, that they understand how to conduct the ceremony safely.
This leadership role is granted by the Elders of the community, not self-designated. This leadership is only entrusted to those who are full members of the community, who live in community, it is never given to outsiders who leave to sell ceremony. Orientation – The door may face a sacred fire; the cardinal directions may have symbolism in the culture, holding the sweating ceremony. The lodge may be oriented within its environment for a specific purpose. Placement and orientation of the lodge within its environment are considered to facilitate the ceremony's connection with the spirit world, as well as practical considerations of usage. Construction – The lodge is built with great care and knowledge, with respect for the environment and for the materials being used. Clothing – In Native American lodges participants wear a simple garment such as shorts or a loose dress. Modesty is important, rather than display. People who are experienced with sweats, attending a ceremony led by a properly trained and authorized traditional Native American ceremonial leader, could experience problems due to underlying health issues.
It is recommended by Lakota spiritual leaders that people only attend lodges with authorized, traditional spiritual leaders. There have been reports of lodge-related deaths resulting from overexposure to heat, smoke inhalation, or improper lodge construction leading to suffocation. If rocks are used, it is important not to use river rocks, or other kinds of rocks with air pockets inside them. Rocks must be dry before heating. Rocks with air pockets or excessive moisture could crack and explode in the fire or when hit by water. Used rocks may absorb humidity or moisture leading to cracks or shattering; the following is a list of reported deaths related to non-traditional "New Age" sweat rituals: Gordon Reynolds, 43 Kirsten Babcock, 34 David Thomas Hawker, 36 Rowen Cooke, 37 Paige Martin, 57 Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown, NY Lizbeth Neuman, 49, of Prior Lake, MN James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee, WI In October 2009, during a New Age retreat organized by James Arthur Ray, three people died and 21 more became ill while attending an overcrowded and improperly set up sweat lodge containing some 60 people and located near Sedona, Arizona.
Ray was arrested by the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office in connection with the deaths on February 3, 2010, bond was set at $5 million. In response to these deaths, Lakota spiritual leader Arvol Looking Horse issued a statement reading in part: Our First Nations People have to earn the right to pour the mini wic'oni upon the inyan oyate in creating Inikag'a – by going on the vision quest for four years and four years Sundance. You are put through a ceremony to be painted – to recognize that you have now earned that right to take care of someone's life through purification, they should be able to understand our sacred language, to be able to understand the messages from the Grandfathers, because they are ancient, they are our spirit ancestors. They teach the values of our culture. What has happened in the news with the make shift sauna called the sweat lodge is not our ceremonial way of life! On November 2, 2009, the Lakota Nation filed a lawsuit against the United States, Arizona State, James Arthur Ray, Angel Valley Retreat Center site owners, to have Ray and