How My First Time At A Sweat Lodge Changed My Life

Eric S Burdon
4 min readAug 13, 2018

Native Americans play massive roles in Western society for obvious reasons, but one thing I wasn’t at all aware is that their customs are still prominent to this day.

Chalk it up to sheer ignorance of Canadians not knowing Canadian history (seriously most people don’t know the details), I was surprised that during my Katimavik travels that we were going to a Native American tribal spot and participating in a sweat lodge.

Now what is a sweat lodge?

That was one of the big questions that I had running through my mind. As one of the many ignorant Canadian’s, I was unaware of customs let alone where we were going.

Judging by the words, a lot of people would think that it’s a lodge where you sweat, but there is more to that process.

It’s a lot more than just a sauna you’d find in any indoor pool.

In fact it’s far more compact than the spacious area that sauna’s provide.

All I knew was that I was to bring a swim suit and that the place would be outside.

I thought they were crazy since we were almost in winter and the temperatures started to really drop.

Little was I expecting what would happen next.

“Sweat Lodge” by Richard Packo

Sweat lodges come in all shapes and sizes, but the structure overall remains the same. The fabric of the lodges is tough, being able to handle the elements with incredible ease. Furthermore the fabric is able to keep any scents or vapours inside.

I knew this much from looking at it once me and the other 10 people from our group had arrived. Some of them were familiar with this process, while others, like myself, were completely clueless as to what was going to happen.

We were introduced to the chief and then we proceeded to change our clothing to our swimsuits.

Of course we were all shivering and were soon ushered inside.

There was no mats on the ground. In fact the only thing there was in the middle is hot rocks. It was a good distance…

Eric S Burdon

Entrepreneur, positive-minded. I used to say a lot, but now I do a lot.