December 21, 2010

Christian Crees tear down sweat lodge

Banning spirituality

Oujé-Bougoumou tears down a local sweat lodge to satisfy the community’s Christians

By Amy German
Oujé-Bougoumou’s Redfern Mianscum just days ago witnessed his community tear down a sweat lodge he built with his bare hands earlier this fall. The community did so under a new bylaw that was passed in late October banning all traditional spiritual practices within reserve limits after a petition was passed requesting it.

Mianscum said he had built the sweat lodge in the backyard of his friend, Lana Wapachee, on October 5 because he felt there was a need for a source for traditional healing within Oujé.
This action was based on a tribal resolution:The resolution reads that the Council of the Cree Nation of Oujé-Bougoumou:

– hereby declares that the sweat lodge along with any form of Native Spirituality Practices such as Powwows, Rain Dances et etcetera do not conform with the traditional practices and teachings of our Elders.

The resolution also stated that the community was founded under the Christian faith and values of the community’s Elders and past leadership and that the community will continue to uphold its faith in guidance with God.
More on the tribe:

Oujé-BougoumouThe Cree in the Chibougamau area had been marginalized in the 20th century by many forced relocations. After decades of relocations, this band gained recognition by the government and was given land to construct a new permanent village. It was designed by architect Douglas Cardinal (famous for the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec) and was built in 1992. It has won recognition and awards for its modern concepts combining economic sustainability, environmental conservation, and design.Comment:  The tribe seems progressive enough, but its policy of banning traditional practices in favor of Christianity is shortsighted. Christianity has hurt more Indians than it's helped, which is why many Indians reject it.

For more on the subject, see Catholics to Ban Indian Practices? and Landover Satirizes "Injun Sin."


Burt said...

Sweats are mostly used as preparation for ceremonies or periodic cleansing. Hopefully, this tribe is not doing away with everything that signifies their culture and traditions.

Otherwise, whats the use of having a tribe? Why not just shut down tribal operations and convert their energies towards a mega-church? Its definitly more profitable.

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:

Christian Crees Tear Down Sweat Lodge

Rob said...

The story continues in Sweat Lodge = Witchcraft?!