Reflection Paper on Sweat Lodge by Bryan Little Chief

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  8
Wordcount:  2153 Words
Date:  2022-10-03

In this Reflection paper, I had the honor of introducing the University of Calgary, Professor Romania Beattie, and two peers Damion, and Lucas, to experience Bryan Little Chief's, Sweat Lodge. I first received some eight students, to be of attendance to Bryan's sweat, there were four of us from INDG-303. I do remember Bryan explaining to a number of us that it was realistic, he implied, to us all we have to respect their choices. He stated whoever is here is meant to be here this how the Creator, and Ancestors, work. He mentioned when it is the individual's agreement and time they will seek a sweat lodge. We cannot force anyone it is their loyalty. On Sunday, October 7th, 2018, upon arrival at Siksika Nation, Damion articulated to me that it was Lucas, first time sweating he didn't know what to expect and was nervous and Damion, also articulated to me he was a bit worried due not sweating in very long time, he stated he did sweat with blood in (kainai), a few years back.

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I told them both that they would be taken care of by their ancestors. Also, Bryan, he ensures that everyone in the sweat lodge, we will be "okay and overseen by their ancestors, and others that are praying for the same thing that we may not know. That this is the power of prayers and the ancestors that we call angels, or spirit beings. When I talked to my peers, I was able to support them by talking to them both, to let them know that its a natural feeling. We all tend to get these negative feeling when we were about to go into a sweat, and we tend to let our minds believe it is going to be hard when we experience sweat.

Including myself, I told them if my grandsons, can we make the four rounds I'm positive we can too. It gave them both sense of eagerness and willingness to the sweat. I told them how it might seem lengthy when we begin the first round; it will get much easier as we continue the rounds before we know that the four rounds are complete. When I first started sweat back in 2000, I was nervous and afraid, not knowing what to expect. When we commenced the sweat at Bryan's, to my peers, I outlined that they both had prayed for what it is that they were here for and realized the four rounds would be quite fast. I'm certain that "Ego has a way of getting our minds to change our meditation, and the wrong thoughts, this I've encountered. However, it was respectable to hear from Damion, and Lucas, what they both experienced in the sweat. They stated it was very cleansing and they both felt it was uplifting. Also, hearing the confident and outcome certainly hearing and feeling the presence of the ancestors come near them both. It thus gave them a sense of trust knowing that they were at the right place, at the right time, and that there are reasons for everything. Damion had received a gift in sweat, and they stated they both wish to attend another sweat again.

When we concluded the sweat, we were all invited into Bryan's home for a feast. We all had some time to listen and visit Bryan and talk to him about what we may have experienced in the Sweatlodge. He also mentioned to a few of us what was voiced by the Grandfathers and Grandmothers. There was one individual that told Bryan that she needed some Medicine. He prepared it and gave to the young lady, and he explained to her how to to use the medicine.

Bryan had shared how he received his gift to help others and through his many stories about his journey to Sandhills and Mountains, Vision quest, also to fast he articulated this to many of us. They are many stories about sacred bundles items that were given to the Blackfoot People by Spirit beings of the world. These are used in ceremonies to make the connections with Spirits beings and the Creator by people that are either suffering from their belief system or others that may be experiencing sickness. Bryan will call on other medicine men to assist him in seeing how they can help the individual's who feel that they have been carrying a negative force with them.

It tends to go into their homes and mainly the younger children are the ones that are disturbed due to them being pure, they become terrified, and not understanding what's happening. There is another importance he mentioned to a few of us; that he's been called to many homes on reserve and off reserve places that need Spiritual cleansing. He said that in some homes the old Spirits might be living in the family home or they might be living on an ancient burial site. They then come to Bryan with protocol when the family is ready for spiritual support from Bryan. Bryan's helpers are there to support Bryan to find out what the family is experiencing with the spirits that have been bothering the family.

It astonishes me how the stories of how our traditions and values were given to us by Creator and other Spirit Beings. It is a story of how our place in the Universe and our relationships with all the Creation. I have learned this experience through many of the traditional teachings. I have been blessed and I been given the honor of handling the old women pipes to load their pipes for the ceremony. I was giving this gift through a traditional ceremony, and I am now a helper called a "Yellow hand." I wish to share with many others that feel mislaid in our culture. Therefore, my story is also about many of my struggles to maintain our values, principles, and beliefs. In the face of relentless change, our core values of culture, are still an important part of our ceremonies. It continues to affirm my connection with the entire natural world. Much has changed in cultures, and a lot of young people have difficulties in learning our language and traditions. The core values of a culture are still important to me "Niitsitapiisinnni" called the Blackfoot people. I began my journey in 1998, as First Nation women survivor Interregional affects through this. I was motionlessly influenced and blinded by my addiction to alcohol where I felt lost in life, not knowing any direction. At the beginning of my journey, I thought I was losing my battle to alcohol until a time when I fell sick, and I was tired of my lifestyle of loneliness. It happened until one day when I needed to consult the elders and the medicine people as many people advised me. I trusted that our elders are knowledge keeper s and some are traditional healers, and they are essential to many other communities. It helped me recognize that vital knowledge and much respect and teachings and offering me respect kindness, caring, integrity. Through the healing process, they talked about Spirits that are all over.

Bryan encourages me to continue to smudge and pray. He stated the many people are too afraid of change and are fearful of the noises they hear in their homes. Bryan explained when a person does alcohol or drugs; they tend to carry toxic attitudes into their homes. I do believe it follows a person until they know something is not right. I do trust they come for a reason to let us know close families know something will occur or close relative will be leaving to the spirit world. I am honored to share that my Father In-law and Mother In-law transferred the sacred tipi traditionally. It was passed to my husband Shawn and me, and it is being passed down from generation to generation. It is a big part of our Runner family, and we keep it close with us at the home since it gives us superior respect. It has been many giving messages that were told to my husband, and I and most messages are about close family or friends. We have heard many strange noises coming from our basement where we keep it in our sacred place. When a person is going to pass, it makes loud noises. We directly smudge and cannot be afraid of the tipi when it gives us messages. When something is going to happen to me and my husband Shawn, we smudge the tipi praying that we are not going to hear some news and we already know why, the tipi becomes loud and shakes. We know that we will be hearing news we will get a call, or the next day it will be someone in the community or other communities that have passed on, and in most of the times, they are usually close relatives. Bryan shared many stories of, traditional sacred items that he has received and the many gifts that he too takes extra care of them like a baby. He has all of these items in his home placed in a sacred place. He sometimes shares this story with others that are learning about spiritual experiences and learning about spiritual aspects, and they can expand the connections within the creation. In some situations, it can challenge assumptions and transform our knowledge as well.


Individuals who have difficulties with their experience that they may require other support to help them achieve comfort and balance, Bryan expresses that he focuses on helping people to become contributing members of the society in whatever way they are meant to be. I think that as long as people are communicating in a positive way of agreeing to participate in Sweats, Night lodges, Sundance's, Horse ceremonies, and Ghost dances, it is a good learning experience from different cultures and the "Indigenous ways of knowing" to learn how the ancestors have had many tools to help others. It is being passed down to a person that has earned their rights; they have been giving many tools to help many people that have been growing from many experiences. We all are different from how we hold Sundances and Sweat lodges among others. Through all my time looking and looking for my purpose or place, I was not familiarized with these concepts. This elder introduced me to know my American family. I was told that you might be asked to fast or refrain from food and water before participating in Sweat and Sundances. Some sweat clothing is optional. The host or lodge leader serves as the master of ceremonies, and the Sweat or Sundance's participants follow his instructions throughout the proceedings. My first sweat and Sundance took place in 2000. I was afraid as I was not familiar to the new beginning of learning my culture and as mentioned, I was ashamed to be Indigenous. Anyhow, it was an honor, and I felt safe with the kind and gentle elders who are kind and possess true integrity. Therefore, I then came back home to Canada, too find a person I could sweat with and learn my family history. I was led to Bryan Little chief and now being with my family brings so much happiness and joy since I now know much more about being a Siksika woman. Knowing my roots has been my soul searching for many years. This gave me a better outlook in life, and I am proud of my grandmother who taught me valuable teachings a young girl. I knew somewhere we are all connected in some way or another. Bryan shared many stories with me about family. I first came back from Siksika to be with my traditional family and my family which I lost for several years. I was being very honest about how my life has changed from being lost in life and how I was ashamed of many things that I had done to hurt my children, my husband, and all the people that had cared and loved me. I was blinded at that time that I was not with my husband and family from Tsuut'ina. I left my family for four years, and I was living a very lonely life without my family in my presence. I needed to correct my behavior but had no contact with my husband because of my bad habits. In 2010, I eventually went back to my husband, and I was very happy about that. I loved my husband and my children very much, and my one grandson was born in 1990. I remember at the time I could not lose them because of the bad influences I had at that time. However, when I stopped hanging out with my friends, I found they were not true friends as several people told me. I have talked to my children about my life. I h...

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Reflection Paper on Sweat Lodge by Bryan Little Chief. (2022, Oct 03). Retrieved from

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