When Redfern Mianscum built a sweat lodge in his Cree community last October, he was hoping it would bring about spiritual healing. Instead, it brought criticism and a controversial ban on Native spirituality and sweat lodges.

 

Mianscum agreed last fall to build a ‘mitutsaan,’ or sweat lodge, in the backyard of a friend, Lana Wapachee, so their families would have a place to pray in the traditions of Cree spiritual teachings. “The sweat lodge helped me turn away from alcohol and things that were hurting my family,” said Miascum, who returned to Cree traditions four years ago after his family suffered the loss of a baby. “I went back to the healing methods of our ancestors, and it turned me around for the better,” he said. “I wanted to share that with my family and others who believe this way.”

 

A few days after the sweat lodge was constructed, Christian members of this James Bay Cree community circulated a petition, signed by about 130 people, demanding that it be torn down. “We further request that no native spirituality be allowed in our community such as pow wows and spiritual practices, and [that we] not even allow any person to come into our community to bring these kind of practices to confuse our youth,” it stated. “Our concerns are for our youth, our children and grandchildren. We have raised them with the Word of God and we will continue to do so. They know the difference between the Word of God and spiritual practices.”   Read More>>>