FNTI now has a sweat lodge. Kevin Kunkel, Aboriginal Youth Justice Worker, Tontakaierine Tyendinaga Justice Circle (TJC) learned the method of constructing a sweat lodge in his previous work with Indigenous inmates in Corrections. With approval from FNTI President, Suzanne Brant, Kevin constructed a lodge to use for the TJC and other programs at FNTI. Our first traditional sweat lodge was held on Sunday, November 12, 2016 at FNTI. Joe Brown, an experienced community member conducted the sweat for a group of youth.
Construction of the Sweat Lodge
With the help of FNTI 2nd year Mental Health & Addiction Worker student Danielle Lucas, the main pit area was dug. The main pit houses the Grandfathers (stones) for ceremony.
Eight sapling poles (preferably willow) are positioned around the pit area where the sweat lodge is located. The poles are bent and tied together to create an outer shell or dome-like frame. The door to enter a sweat is always placed or positioned to the east. A lower wrap and middle wrap are attached to the frame, leaving a small space for a door. A third wrap is placed over the entire dome to finish it off.
A second pit was made about 15 feet from the first one, outside of the lodge area. It is used for heating up the Grandfathers stones. They are then carried into the sweat lodge and placed in first pit.
Kevin was the Firekeeper for the sweat with Justice Circle Coordinator Leah Brant and Danielle Lucas preparing the feast to be enjoyed after the sweat. It was a huge success and everyone who attended loved the ceremony and the food afterwards.