Cree community bans FNs spirituality

An overwhelmingly Christian Cree community in northern Quebec has banned sweat lodges and all forms of First Nations spirituality.

(Photo: A man helps tear down a sweat lodge in Ouje-Bougoumou, Que. Photo courtesy of Lana Wapachee)

By Annette Francis
APTN National News
An overwhelmingly Christian Cree community in northern Quebec has banned sweat lodges and all forms of First Nations spirituality.

The ban was imposed after a local family built a sweat lodge in their backyard with the help of a friend, triggering major controversy throughout Ouje-Bougoumou, which means, “the place where people gather.”

Redfern Mianscum said he built the sweat lodge to help people, but his dream was short-lived. The evangelical Christian majority in the community, which sits about 722 kilometres north of Montreal, turned against it.

The band council then passed a resolution against the all forms of First Nations spirituality, calling it shamanism, and had it torn down in early December.

“They see it as evil or something that’s not good and I heard somebody say that it is a form of witchcraft,” said Mianscum.

The lodge was built on Lana Wapachee’s property. She was going through a hard time and wanted help. To her, the sweat lodge was a God-send.

“It felt good to see them working together for healing for a moment,” she said. “Though I felt scared, I felt, what are people gonna say?”

Soon a petition started to circulate around the community calling for the sweat lodge’s removal.

The petition drew so much attention that the band council called a meeting which Wapachee said was rigged.

“There was a plan, a strategy,” she said. “They wanted…to take down the lodge and at the end of the general assembly, the community got up and they passed the resolution.”

The resolution said the Cree community’s elders did not want any form of “Native spirituality or practices” in Ouje-Bougoumou.

“The practice of the sweat lodge and its rituals are not restricted to merely medical…healing, but in essence a way to contact and communicate with the spirit world through shamanism,” said the resolution. “The majority of the Ouje-Bougoumou members are Christian faith-oriented and have strong Christian values.”

Wapachee said it was difficult watching the tear-down of the lodge.

“They came in and it was really long and hard to witness it. It was just me and my kids,” she said.

Wapachee’s nephew, Bruce Wapachee, said it upset him to see the lodge destroyed.

“I felt that they were…taking away our rights to have our beliefs in what we want to believe in,” he said. “I wasn’t too happy. I was upset about them coming down to tear down our sweat lodge and it was our way of healing.”

One of the men who tore down the sweat lodge said the sweat lodge was scaring his children. Rainy Coon-Come said the lodge should never have been built in the community.

“Growing up, I didn’t see that. I never saw that. My dad didn’t do it…My grandfather wasn’t into it,” he said. “Go build it somewhere else, not at someone’s house. All this wouldn’t have happened if they’d built it across the lake.”

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58 thoughts on “Cree community bans FNs spirituality

  1. The assimilation process worked good on those people and that’s what the religious whites wanted because we scared the hell out of them and still do. They’ve been brainwashed completely they don’t even know who they are anymore, so sad. I spent most of my adult life in the white world and that’s scary. I know who I am and I’m so proud to be a Native woman! and I am proud of my spirituality. I feel sorry for both sides of this situation, I will keep them in my prayers.

  2. Have they charged the community for discrimination and bullying yet? No religion should have any presidence over another. If they didn’t like it they should have went home and prayed for it to go away….

  3. This is so sad to see, our own people fighting amongst each other even threw prayer, I do not Condon these people that tore down this sweat lodge, the womb of our mother, I can only pray for them, the time will come when we stand infront of our Maker and answer to a Supreme Being, our Creator, I follow the way of our sacred pipe, and also the Roman Catholic way, I’m a sweat lodge holder n been gifted with the sacred pipe, for in both ways I pray to only One, as I see and read, “why have you forsaken me” and by tearing down this sweat lodge, you have forsaken what was truely givin to us as first Nation ppl

  4. That’s discrimination… these ppl should charge that community for such. Besides… christianity should not have a voice on any FN land…

  5. Just like to say this is such the most ridiculous decision of any First Nation community. I would put my head down in shame if I were part of this community. After the sicken years our past first nations endured to be slapped in the face with such a outrageous decision for our Ceremonies. Give your head a shake numerous times until you realize the millions of first nation that died cause of Christian beliefs. Shame on that community and all its members who think its ok for Christians to come a kill off our first Nation people for their belief/religion is better or right. No sympathy for the fallen who gave their lives for your First Nation and our First Nation people…just to shame us all….pretty sickening!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. So “these natives” from this reservation are treaty I take it right..So they are Christians..Ok I’m so so least to say disgusted how native ppl are so easy to accept assimilation into Whiteman beliefs..But that’s another comment my comment was this.. If your reservation doesn’t believe in our ways..Tell me are you treaty? If you are why don’t you surrender your treaty rights? Since you don’t believe in our native ways? I feel for these ppl in this reservation that want help and try follow our traditional, spiritual n ceremonial ways. Do you guys speak your language? May as well give that up to.
    I am a proud Saulteaux/Cree woman..I left the reservation at 18 years old. I married a Assiniboine-Nakota Sioux and have children with him. We didn’t raise our children in either of our reserve’s but they grew knowing our native religions, our Creator, our sweat lodges our other lodges…
    When I read this I couldn’t believe it..My first thought was ok you want to live that way give up your treaty rights live the white man way since you believe in his god!!

  7. I noticed many of you did not put your name on your letters. Why is this? I am proud to be a First Nation woman that comes from the Salish peoples of the coast and I live on my reservation called Musqueam. When I was a child my parents told us: my eight brothers and two sisters that they did not want us to join the Native spirituality because they has seen and witnessed much evil that came with it. Oh we would sneak away to the Smoke house ( dance hall) but not one of us really did not connect with this Native Religion. My parents were raised in the residential school but never spoke of the abuse until they were drunk. I did not understand as a child but went to university after my children were in school. I studied the history of BC residential school system and cried for my parents missing out of their childhood. I never really connected with the Catholic Church because I really did not understand what the heck they were saying; It was frustrating. When I married my second child died at home in his crib. So I really did not have anyone to turn to through my nightmare and also most Indians were and still are unemotional peoples so no one would talk to me about the death. I grew very tired and lost the joy in my life. One day I knelt down in my front room and talked to God and gave him an ultimation that he had to reveal himself to me because I want to die. He did reveal his self to me that day. As a result my whole family serves the Lord Jesus today. One is a preacher and one is a Bible teacher. I just wanted to say this because I have a peace in my life and know where I belong and where I am going. When I lived in Edmonton for Five years I said to the Cree people, ” you are the ones who introduced the sweat lodge to people; now we have had to deal with this ceremony for the last 10 years.’\ They said no it was not us. it came from the States. Anyway when I ask medicine men or Shamans that I meet if they believe in Jesus. They stated that they know God is real and that Jesus has more power than them. And when I question my people in Musqueam of where they received the knowledge of the spirit dancing, medicine lodge ect… They don’t know. They just say it comes from their heads. Anyway I feel that many people react to these spiritual rituals because they have a lack of knowledge of the bible and God. Believe me I do know that the spirits, visions and directions that many First Nations receive from these Spirit Guides do happen and walk in is real; but I really will not follow some foreign religion which I don’t know where it comes from. I was happy to read of this reservation taking a stand because they are also protecting their children and grandchild. I have heard of many reservations in Canada and the United States taking a stand against Native Religion in their community because this really does take guts and integrity to make a stand for their beliefs. The reservation has many Christians living there so they would be the majority to make a decision that would effect other people for the rest of their lives.

    1. Why is it that there are so many judgemental Christians? If they are to follow in Jesus’s footsteps shouldn’t they not be so damning and judgemental of others? So what if someone prays differently than you do. So what! If we all believe in one God and Creator, and he will be the only one to pass judgement on everyone. Not you! The only evil you’ve witnessed are what’s in your hearts , cleanse yourselves so you can see clearer and not be so judgemental! Pray people for each other , pray how/what ever brings you closer to God Creator . Raise each other up, not tear one another down. Don’t ever judge anyone ! Only God Creator sits that high!

    2. If someone is opposed to a majority of people who live in an embodiment of peace, love, and Joy. Who is he that he should declare or live in such a way that moderately endangers the agenda or the way a whole community favors? Don’t the majority rule as to who what, or how they want everyone to live? To be at peace with one another? And isn’t it only fair to rid themselves from anyone or anything that impairs the community as a whole? Religion, and Christianity are different. Religion is man-made. While Christianity is God-made. Man-made Belief Systems are all religions, and they are simply seen as deception from the devil by those who live in the truth of God’s Will. Believing, and holding things sacred that God created is simply putting them ahead of worshipping, and praising God. Today God wants His Creation to praise, and Worship Him from the heart only, Not from things that will expire in their span of being. Animals were sacrificed to show reverence, and repentence to God in old Testament times, but now in new testament times after God came to save the world from eternal death through His Only Begotten Son Jesus. There is no more rituals or sacrificing. The death of His Only Begotten Son was worthy, and good enough to prevent Him from destroying the world, and Jesus took the keys of eternal death from Satan in hell. Myths, and legends are fairy tales that have been conjured up by Satan who hates God. We all come from Adam, and Eve! There is a book known as the Bible. It is God’s Word. The Inspiration of God the Almighty. By His Spirit He gave prophets of old to carry His Word throughout the test of time in history. There is no other book ever written by man’s insight that will ever compare to the Word of God. The people of God were one in the beginning, and now everyone will know that we are once again going to be one for those who believe…

    3. The majority of a people’s vision rules! It is not a single man’s objection to the rule that takes precedence over a community’s stand against their favored agenda in whatever their overall agreement is. If they feel that another’s way of life is negative. They should have every right to oppose, or remove that infringement of their community. If the person who is against the embodiment

  8. It was through a Sweat Lodge that I found my way home to the Native Spirituality of my Northern European Ancestors, albeit a Lakota ceremony.nnI was raised Roman Catholic, and have done quite a bit of comparative religious study…Christianity seems to fear anything that may show it is a weak and foreign way, when compared to one’s ancestral beliefs and practices.nnAs my Uncle John (a traditional Mohawk who also encouraged my European spiritual explorations) did, I hope the Cree Folk can accept that they once had their own, powerful beliefs.

  9. I’m speechless. The church did a damned good job of brain washing a people to hate their own true culture and in convincing them that the Traditional way is a devil worshipping way. I’m horrified, saddened and hurt for these Christians. Whatever happened to unconditional love? It doesn’t matter how you pray – what matters is that the prayer comes from the heart. This makes me wonder how closed is this community to immigrants who have other beliefs? It would make me feel unsafe. How horrendous!! I feel sorry for these people and their limited worldview. We have a difficult enough time as Indigenous people…and the last thing we need is to be oppressing our relations for their own beliefs. Perhaps we need to remember the first and foremost – spirituality is NOT relgion. The sweat is not religious practice. It’s spiritual and as connected to the land, earth and cosmos (universe).

  10. Wow…I’m speechless. I can’t believe that a community would allow themselves to be so brain washed by the church as to hate. Whatever happened to unconditional love – it doesn’t matter how one prays – what matters is where the prayer comes from – a place of love. From the heart. The church did a great job in blackening the hearts of these people. Horrendous.

  11. This is the worst attrocity ever, when our own people start dictating how we pray to the creator, and to go as far as tearing down the sweat lodge! I am appalled to hear of this happening within our own communities! What are they thinking? This is exactly what the government wants is to see us tearing each other apart, this is true assimlation when own own people condem the ways of our ancestors! Even tho I sit here disappointed and disheartened by there actions, I know alls I can do is pray for them and their community! I pray that the creator will take pity on those people in this community that have descreated this place of prayer, help to heal their hearts and minds of there own hurt and fear and to move forward to a place of healing, love and wellbeing for themselves and their future generations! may the creator walk with each of you and feel his love!

  12. sorry about posting twice. this is my first post, so i didn’t know where the first one went….nthen after i submitted the second one, ni kinda figured out what i wuz doing

  13. when non-first nations arrived to our north american continentnfighting over it before they landed thenntheir religions and government killed FN spiritual ceremonies as n’heathen’ ‘pagan’ ‘savage’ mindless rituals worth less than nothingnthey burned and sold cultural symbols to private collectors and governmentsnaround Mother Earthnremoved children from families, community & culturenclaimed tradlitional territories and nregistered land resources to give to coroporations.nfor unregulated exploitationnwithout conscience nor legal limit nobviously, we don’t need them to do it to our community members todaynwe can perpetuate their evil upon ourselves, but we don’t have to……nnthe sweat lodge is the very first spiritual structure on nour north american continent, delivered by Creatore by na Sacred Being, vision or dream from the AncientsnThe Sweat Lodge is humble before Creator, not grandioseneach 2-legged entering a sweat lodgenis responsible to enter into conversationnfrom their own heart with CreatornnTo the Band Council members:nYour fiscal government budget will not be reduced nor removed nwhen you uphold what is legally recognized as a nRELIGIOUS ‘RIGHT’ AND FREEDOMnby the Statutes of Canada nnThe sweat teachings are universal, holistic, and individualisticnScience has only now discovered that the whole of our universe is relatednthis has ever been and continues to be taught in Sweat lodge teachings andnis how prayers are closed, “All My Relations”:nGrandFather Sun, GrandMother Moon and Mother Earthnprovide more energy than is needed to sustain all ecosystems in our biospherenFree Energy…..yes, Free….we can use limitless amountsnthe rest of our world is just catching up to First Nations sweat lodge teachingsnthat we can take from what energy already exists in unlimited quantitynWithOut Committing Crime Against Nature….nnWe will know our world has reached the last frontier ofnglobal conscience when nwe have Global Laws in place for nCrimes Against Mother EarthnnCome on my people, wake upnCome on my people, thinknCome on my people, RespectnYou can do itnWe’re in this togethernnas alwaysnn

  14. When non-First Nations first arrived to our continent, the first thing their churches and government did to our First Nations peoples was kill spiritual practices, remove and sell all cultural symbols, separate children from families & community, claim our lands and every resource that they killed in their own countries…. this action proves how deeply their evil is entrenched….we don’t need them to do this evil to us, we’re doing it to our own community members……..we don’t need their help anymorennOur Sweat Lodge is the first spiritual ceremony to exist on our North American ContinentnOur Sweat Lodge is the MOST humble of spiritual structuresnOur traditional spiritual way is wholistic, individualistic and universal wherenEach person is responsible for their own direct conversation with CreatornWestern science is only just now discovering ancient truths that are revealed nin the everyday practice of First Nations spiritualitynFor example, the scientific discovery that every being in our universe is relatednHeavenly bodies of GrandFather Sun, GrandMother Moon, Mother Earth togethernprovide more than enough energy to keep alive all life supporting systemsnFor Free, yup, For Free…we can take as much as we can use as long as we don’t destroy what’s already there besides that, it’s not replaceablenand that’s just a very small sample of the depth and breadth nof First Nations spiritual teachingsnnthink my people, think, nremember my people, remembernnALL of our world today needs our teachingsnDon’t stop, Don’t give up, our ancestors didn’tnbless their memoriesnand bless you too…..nthat the every 2-legged above ground and pumping airnneeds desperately to learn today nn

  15. Dear People:nHow can any1 take away some1 Spirituality!!!! it’s about very important practices & it’a disgrace when your own pl tirn on 1 of their own kind is worse then any1 else cood do. R they afraid of something they have no idea of something they never tried. Their is nothing better than burning sage, going in a sweatlodge. I cood gone on & on cuz this really makes me feel sooooooooo sad> May ppl who want to still practice in secret >Please Creator help these Ppl. who want to practice their ways let them find a place. Otherwise I know that some1 can’t take away the feeling . I’m afraid if it’s real then Your heart would have 2 b cut out cuz that’s where spiritiuality lives I knew from a small child that even tho I was teased there was a something beautiful in our culture. I just needed 2 b taught about it. nCircling Hawk WomannAKA CirclingHawkWoman

  16. Identity.nWhat does it mean to be Cree?nWhat does it mean to be Indian/Indigenous?nnWhen some (fullbloods even) decided to sell their homelands to the invaders, a reporter asked Sitting Bull how he felt about Indians selling their land. He replied “Indians? What Indians? There are no Indians left but me!”nObviously to him, being Indian was more than genetics.nnCatholic priest turned whistleblower Bartolome de Las Casas exposed one of the ceremonies practiced by these ‘god-fearing christians’. They would erect a beam between two trees or posts and tie 13 Indians at a time, then build a fire and make a burnt offering, a human sacrifice. Why 13? Why not 10, 15 or 20 at a time? No. It HAD to be exactly 13, in honor of Jesus Christ and his 12 apostles.nnWhen they then entered the mainland, an astute Acuera defied their invitation to submit to the church and the king ‘so as to enjoy all the benefits of civilization’. Said he:nn”I have long since learned who you [European Christians] are, through others of you who came years ago to my land; and I already know very well what your customs and behavior are like. To me you are professional vagabonds who wander from place to place, gaining your livelihood by robbing, sacking and murdering people who have given you no offense.”nnNothing has changed since, except millions more have been mutilated and massacred on the alter of this christian manifest destiny, all the while blaming it on ‘god’s will’, as if it was god that is on a killing spree’ (Trudell)nn”The most powerful thing in the world is to construct reality and have people accept it even when it is to their own disadvantage” – Maulana Karenga

  17. Evangelical Christian First Nations? It’s amazing how far people can veer from their true spiritual identities – from having a foreign religion & unknown beliefs forced on them, to fervently preaching intolerance of any others (including their own)! How horrible to have your own people turn against you. I’m pretty sure that’s not very ‘Christian’!nFor a community to be so adamantly in denial – about their ancestral cultural roots, their beliefs &, ultimately, their true selves – takes considerable HYPOCRISY (with weakness at its core). Hypocrisy is a form of ignorance – & ignorance is a form of evil (@bulletproof4385 sums it up quite well)…nLana Wapache may be better off moving to a more accepting, liberal-minded community? But then they’d have noone to point out how petty-minded their UN-Christian community has become…

  18. Evangelical Christian First Nations? It’s amazing how far people can veer from their true spiritual identities – from having a foreign religion & unknown beliefs forced on them, to fervently preaching intolerance of any others (including their own)! How horrible to have your own people turn against you. I’m pretty sure that’s not very ‘Christian’!nFor a community to be so adamantly in denial – about their ancestral cultural roots, their beliefs &, ultimately, their true selves – takes considerable HYPOCRISY (with weakness at its core). Hypocrisy is a form of ignorance – & ignorance is a form of evil (@bulletproof4385 sums it up quite well)…nLana Wapache may be better off moving to a more accepting, liberal-minded community? But then they’d have noone to point out how much their petty lives suck…

  19. Just goes to show what reserves get away with.. sad. Kinda ironic, isn’t it? The Indian Act outlawed all the Indians’ practices, made sure we kept our place and followed their rules, and now that Indians are finally trying to get our culture and traditions back, look who is stopping it! Religious freaks..

  20. My spiritual enlightenment started only a few years ago (I am 32). A wise teacher introduced me to the talking circle, sacred fire and smudging. She was very patient and accepting and in turn I learned to be patient and accepting. Thus, patience will conquer ignorance. The community will come around.

  21. My spiritual enlightenment started only a few years ago (I am 32). A wise teacher introduced me to the talking circle, the sacred fire and smudging. She was patient and accepting and in turn I learned to be patient and accepting. Thus, patience will conquer ignorance. The community will come around.n

  22. My spiritual enlightenment started only a few years ago (I am 32). A wise teacher introduced me to the talking circle, sacred fire and smudging. She was very patient and accepting, and in turn I learned to be patient and accepting.Thus, patience will conquer ignorance. The community will come around.n

  23. I’m disturbed as well as disgusted. The good news is that Human Rights Legislation is coming into effect on reserves. Separate church from state. How those ‘christians’ conduct themselves.

  24. I’ve heard about this, but still can’t believe that its true. What would drive a Peoples’ to commit such an blatant act of spiritual suicide against their own culture? We have our elders in our community who are staunch Catholics, Christians etc. In other communities they are of the Protestant faith, but I’ve never heard of any of them condemning and legislating against their own people for practicing their own faith. nnAs a matter of fact, in traveling in meeting with other Aboriginal Peoples’ it is these Western based practices that dying out with the revival of our inherent spiritual faiths and practices. Never once did anyone of these communities say they were going to go and burn down or destroy the churches and places of practice of those other faiths like these people did with the sweat-lodges. It happened in the forties and fifties but not past those dates.nnI heard a Metis Leader from northern Saskatchewan say “after they die we are going back to our Spiritual ways”. He didn’t say we we’re going to push them out or punish them for practicing their faith and beliefs, but had shown respect those because they are in fact their own Elders and Metis people. I am truly sickened to read what I’ve read. Personally, I’ll remember the name Ouje-Bougoumou, but not as a indigenous community, because no indigenous community that I’ve ever met have done this to their own people. This is truly the face of assimilation and what a horribly disfigured and distorted face it is.

  25. This community definitely uses there First Nations status as a means to show pride in their community and even run a tourism company company for economic development. However if a community denies their own membership to practice their own traditional culture they are simply being hypocritical. nnMoreover this is a huge violation of the United Nations Human Rights Act that allows people to freely practice their chosen religious beliefs. Personally I would have rebuilt the sweat and fought to make sure my people who rely upon this way of life would have it available. nnThis community has committed a huge crime against all Indigenous People and have perhaps set us back in all of the fighting we have done to preserve who we are. I hope that this community comes to understand the severity of their actions.

  26. Salmonfire, I am a not a native of North America. I am native though. I trace my ancestry thousands of years back to the Dacian people of Transylvania. I honor Mother Earth and the Great Spirit. n I do understand that the community can dictate the status-quo and that is good. What is not good is when a community walks away from their culture and history. One should not walk away from whom one is and was, that will only lead on a path of confusion and spiritual decay.n I do not believe in prohibition but I do think that Native Reserves which had a problem with alcohol and chose to become dry reserve, did a good thing. Each problem should be look at individually and what works for you may not necessarily work for me. Banning spiritual rituals and ceremonies will only cause more pain. n (That is just my opinion.)n

  27. Salmon fire– your statement is naive. We are part of one community– the human community, and what you are talking about is stripping human rights based on majority rule. In more then one circumstance that suggestion has been tested– and lost, and likely caused more strife on our planet between diverse persons then any other principle. nnI understand you are suggesting this has to do with ‘sovereignty’, but your statement, and I say this with compassion, is naive. Reflect on this. Do not fret you are not the first human being that has taken time to come to terms with mechanisms that ensure peace, but once you glean this do not forget it.

  28. This is a very sad story. What has Christianity done for the Native people of the Americas? WHat good has it brought?

  29. this is a just another sad case of the effects of colonization…once we were all a proud and united people…First Nations people who had our own way of life, our own identity and our own culture. This community obviously is lost…..they have truely lost their identity…to the man who said he never saw it, that his dad never saw it, and that his grandfather never saw it.(sweat lodge)…that’s what you call the inter-generational effects of assimilation… all started with the grandfather….this man and his children are aboriginal in body only, not in spirit……i hope and pray that community someday remember who they are………

  30. good grief, whata joke, we all have soo much to learn. everyone has soo much to gain if they can ever get their head around how “Powerful” a sweatlodge really is…

  31. Henh hen, I am harsh when it comes to organized dogma but deep inside I am for all forms of spirituality lived with authenticity..I just disagree with prohibiting our ancestral ways on native land and that is unfortunately the scar that still lingers following centuries of control by the church…

  32. I seen this kind of racism in other northern communities.Where christianity is the ruler of the people bye these so called preachers.These so called preachers with there hundred thousand dollar churches and lifestyles are just scared to lose there power and wealth.It’s these preachers that are destroying our communities,culturs and youth.These communities also have the highest sucides,addictions,deaths and are the most poor.Perhaps it’s these so called preachers that have to go.

  33. I hear this kind of racism happening in other Northern Bands.Where Christianity is the power house and the main money maker for these so called preachers.These so called preachers are just scared to lose the power and the money.These Bands also have the highest suicides,deaths,and addictions maybe these preachers are the ones that should leave.They are destroying are communities and youth and are cultures.

  34. Sad indeed..that 500 years later, some of us are still being brainwashed by religions imported from across the Great waters…While your Elders are preaching the european practices of spirituality, we keep walking forward with those ancestral teachings which have never been forgotten….only left behind. Wish I could welcome anyone from your community to pray in the Sacred Rock Lodge set up behind my humble dwelling…and then who knows…you just might remember who you truly are…

  35. Sad…very sad indeed that 500 years later, people are still being brainwashed by religions imported from across the great waters…while you people have chosen to believe that our ways have been forgotten rather than just left behind for some time, we are walking forward remembering the ways of our peoples and bringing them back with force…I would just love to welcome anyone of you in the Sacred Rock Lodge set up behind my house…meditate on who you truly are and then maybe…

  36. Dont let them change your heart. The Creator is with us, carry a sweatlodge in your heart.

  37. One of the hardest thing for the nonnative to wrap their minds around, is that the will of the community dictates what happens in that community, we as Natives do not speak about that sovereignty negatively, this community has every right to decide whats right for their community and their younger generation. i wonder if there had been an equal outcry if that community chose by referendum to outlaw Christianity, most likely not. the man should move to another community if he cant live by thier consenus based decisions

  38. Just goes to show how some Band Councils makes decisions ? Once again HISTORY repeats itself. You can tear down the Sweat Lodge But you can’t break the spirit , Yes it hurts .Prayers ,Ceremonies , REBUILD , There are some that just talk , There are some that just do .Follow your heart .Believe in what it is you believe in .

  39. That is so heart-breaking & very disturbing to throw away such holy rituals from our ancestors. The Europeans did a good job brainwashing many First Nations. How can this man say his children can’t sleep at nights for the sake of a witchcraft sweatlodge, his great great fore fathers practiced these ways before the others got brainwashed. I think it’s time to wake up now & get out of their misery. I would strictly press charges to the Nation for Religious Discrimination!!

  40. I would be the first to tell you that I am not well versed with the teachings behind Christianity. After what the religion has done to my people, I have little respect for any organized western religion. I do believe however, that tolerance and understanding regardless of ones faith should always be respected.nnFor traditionalists like myself, tearing down ones sweat lodge is like tearing down another personu2019s church, mosque or synagogue. True religious teachings regardless of ones faith should never condone nor accept these type of Gestapo actions. My question is why are the community members of Ouje-Bougoumou tolerating them.

  41. Richard Henry Pratt in 1879 is one example. In a speech he gave in 1892, he said “A great general has said that the only good Indian is a dead one. In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him and save the man.”nnResidential School Policy – Duncan Campbell Scott:nI want to get rid of the Indian problem. I do not think as a matter of fact, that the country ought to continuously protect a class of people who are able to stand aloneu2026 Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question, and no Indian Department, that is the whole object of this Bill.nnThe Act to Encourage the Gradual Civilization of Indian Tribes in this Province, and to Amend the Laws Relating to Indians (commonly known as the Gradual Civilization Act) was a bill passed by the 5th Parliament of the Province of Canada in 1857.nnI just wanted to share what this article stirred up for me a perfect example of what these policies set out to do to our Nations People this is where all our problems stem from…..There is no wonder in why this would be upsetting for many of us…….

  42. It’s called FREDOM OF RELIGION!!!! This is ludicrous…it is against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and if all religious groups sit back and do nothing about this then they are all hipocrites…not to mention that the sweat lodge was given to the people by Creator and has been practised since the beginning of man!

    1. That’s infringing their human rights they have a right to have their sweat lodge, that’s to bad their in denial and still in the residential school era where the church wiped away our cultures and language wake up people your aboriginals this has always been the way of life.

  43. It’s a damn shame how they can’t find respect for their own peoples customs. Instead they believe in someone else’s belief’s that was forced on as a nation…. I feel for the people who lost their own inherit right. Shame on you to that First Nation, setting us all back to that day we lost our rights.

  44. Wonder How Many Of Those Elders Signed Up For Their Abuse Against Residential School Money?

    1. People who do things like that cannot call themselves Christians!!!! Bullies is what they’re called. Prayers and songs to you all from Sparks NV!!!

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