You may remember hearing about several people dying as a result of participating in a sweat lodge back in 2009. James Arthur Ray, the leader of that lodge was sentenced to 2 years for negligence in 3 deaths today.

This headline is very frustrating, as it can be very misleading. Firstly, I don't know Mr Ray's heritage, and wonder why a Sweat Lodge was included at this retreat. Secondly, there were WAY TOO MANY people in this Sweat for adequate attention and supervision.

Participating in a Sweat is not to be done on a whim. It requires physical stamina with the correct mind and heart. If it is done in the correct manner, for the correct reasons, and by the correct people, it will be a wonderful experience, followed up by those to help you interpret and understand it.

I look forward to when I can have this experience, and have been preparing myself both physically and emotionally. My heart goes out to each of the families affected by this tragedy. If you participate in a Sweat, please ensure that you are prepared and that you will have an experienced and trustworthy person to assist during and after the experience.

Jane Winkler, Editor
Native American Site
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