“We are spirit” – Indigenous Spirituality – InFocus

APTN InFocus with Cheryl McKenzie
The Spirituality of Indigenous Peoples is a complex diversity among the Nations yet it’s something that connects us all.

In this edition our guests share their views on spirituality and why it’s a part of their daily existence.

We also get a different point of view on spirituality from the producer of a show airing on APTN called, The Other Side.

2 thoughts on ““We are spirit” – Indigenous Spirituality – InFocus

  1. Indigenous Spirituality helped me to achieve and maintain my sobriety. I’m a 60’s scoop person who was raised in a Caucasian home with Christian values. I struggled for many years with alcohol and drug addiction. I attended a few treatment centers centered around Christian beliefs. They never seemed to work and I found myself questioning myself, my beliefs, and my existence.

    Through a series of life events, I ended up at Poundmakers Lodge. A treatments center that followed Indigenous beliefs and spiritual practices. It’s a 6 week stay, and for the first 2 I shied away from the weekly sweat lodge ceremony. There was never any pressure from staff or elders to partake. I finally mustered up the courage to try it. It was the first time I had ever been in a sweat lodge. I was scared and a bit concerned that I would upset the Deity I had been raised to believe would punish me for trying this. I talked with the elder about my concerns. To my surprise, he understood where I was coming from. He suggested to wait until I was ready before entering the lodge. He explained what the ceremony represented. At no time did he try pushing me into something I knew nothing about. He never talked down to me or judge me for my apprehension of trying something new spiritually.

    When I went into the lodge, we were asked to pray for something we wanted. I prayed for the desire to drink to be taken away. It was always my down fall. With the other treatment centers, I would do ok for about 3 months, and then an overwhelming desire to drink would hit me. I wanted this gone from my life. I wanted a sober life. When I emerged from the lodge, it was gone. I knew, some how, that I would never have the urge to drink again. I can’t explain it. It was just gone.

    The other thing that happened was, for the first time in my life, I felt whole. Spiritually. This was something I had never experienced before. I felt at peace with myself for the first time in my life.

    Please understand that I have immense respect for Christians. I was raised in a home by people who believed in God and followed his teachings. I always felt that something was wrong with me when I didn’t experience the joy and wholeness that I saw them experience. The difference was, I’m Indigenous. Christianity was foreign. When I started to learn about Indigenous spirituality I felt complete. Something inside me said I was on the right path.

    It’s been 3508 days now since I have had a drink. I say thank you to the Creator every day.

    I have nothing but respect for other races and their beliefs. It’s what makes them who they are. It is part of them. Just like the Indigenous of this country. It’s part of who we are.

    1. I share a common story. I attended a non-Indigenous treatment program and did not drink for two years but I didn’t have the supports and ended up back into the drinking and drugging.
      I attended Round Lake Treatment Centre in 1981. I had never had any experiences with native spirituality until I went there. I went into a sweat and had an experience that made me want to live again. I didn’t know up to then that I was trying to end my pain. I left there with the courage to address the painful issues that led me back to drinking.
      I still have issues with churchianity./organized religion.

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