The Native American Sweat Lodge: History and Legends

Published on May 19, 2011 by Amy

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The Native American Sweat Lodge
The Native American Sweat Lodge

Bruchac has written many books about Native American legends both for adults and children, although more successfully for the latter than the former. In spite of the fact that this succinct history of the sweat lodge is written in Bruchac’s characteristically simplistic style, it will hold the interest of adult readers. Bruchac presents a thrifty and cogent explanation of the function and role of sweat lodges both historically and in the present. Sweat lodges are part of nearly every native North American culture and have always played an important role in rituals of healing, preparation, and prayer. Bruchac discusses the repression of “sweats,” first by the Spaniards and later by the U.S. government, and notes the hypocrisy of these bans, since saunas and other therapeutic steam baths were popular across Europe for centuries. It is with considerable irony that Bruchac then describes the current fad for sweat lodges among non-Indians, particularly in the men’s movement. To deepen our understanding of the significance of sweat lodges within Native American cultures, Bruchac shares 25 relevant traditional tales from the Lakota, Blackfeet, Nez Perce, Seneca, Navajo, Hopi, Huron, and others. Donna Seaman –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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