By Black Powder | Red Power Media, Staff, Updated June 1, 2016
After a government website ad angered many Indigenous people in Manitoba and across the country, Parks Canada has decided to no longer charge a fee for sweat lodge ceremonies it offers at a national historic site.
Parks Canada was advertising sweat lodge ceremonies on three dates this summer, at a price of $59.50 per person. The ceremonies are to take place at the Lower Fort Garry National Historic site, near Selkirk, Man.
“This is not a recreational program, but an authentic and traditional experience coordinated in an appropriate manner by the recognized Sweat Lodge Keeper on lands that were important to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada,” read a statement from Parks Canada.
The statement also says, this pilot project was never a revenue-generating activity. The fee was only intended to cover the costs associated with planning and delivering the program. However, Parks Canada recognizes that this may have been inappropriate. We have re-evaluated this element of the program and will be now offering it at no cost.
Parks Canada To Profit From First Nations Sweat Lodge Ceremony
The Native American sweat lodge a purification ceremony commonly referred to as a sweat; has been used by the Indigenous people of the Americas since time immemorial as a spiritual ritual for healing, cleansing and prayer.
Today, organized groups of Indigenous culture thieves, including large corporations and greedy department stores sell knock-off items of spiritual importance and well-known companies and sporting teams exploit Native images in the form of logos and mascots.
Now the Government of Canada is now cashing in on public ignorance and the growing need for spiritual guidance by the commercialization and selling of the First Nations, Sweat Lodge ceremonies.
Parks Canada on 3 separate days in the months of July, August and September is offering Sweat Lodges twice a day at the cost of $59.50 a person.
Paying for Native ceremonies is not a traditional practice, and profiting from Native spirituality goes against most tribal beliefs, but on the Parks Canada website a detailed description of the Sweat Lodge ceremony can be found including customs and how a ceremony is conducted.
Parks Canada also has a page titled Frequently Asked Questions for participants (up to 15 people) wanting to attend the Sweat Lodge.
The website does not name the Sweat lodge conductors but oddly enough describes the role of the lodge leader (He or she) as the one charged with protecting the ceremony and maintaining lodge etiquette.
Indigenous people around the world have been trying to stop their spiritual beliefs and practices from being bartered or sold at any price.
Native spiritual leaders and Indigenous activists have been speaking out for decades about the abuse of sacred ceremonies, and continue to oppose the appropriation and exploitation of sacred ceremonies.
It is common belief not exploiting Native ceremonies is one of many spiritual laws, but selling the sacred has been happening for far to long, and Parks Canada is just the latest to capitalize on it.