Sweatlodge participation among Nez Perce women Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/9k41zk150

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  • This research was undertaken to examine the symbolism surrounding the sweatlodge and how it pertained to women in Native American cultures. After an extensive literature search I determined that there was little or no information concerning the use of the sweatlodge by women. The goal of the research was an attempt to fill the gap concerning womens' usage of the sweatlodge and the reason for the continuation of the sweatlodge tradition when so many other traditions had become lost. To fulfill this goal I chose to work with women from the Nez Perce reservation at Lapwai, Idaho. The women of the Nez Perce use the sweatlodge to cleanse the body and to achieve social harmony in their daily lives. It is a forum for releasing tensions, an opportunity of marriage counseling, and a method of communing with the spiritworid. In spite of the fact that my women consultants denied any religious motivations, it appears that the sweatlodge is in fact a religious activity. By participating in the sweatlodge the spiritual traditions are being kept alive. Change has occurred with great regularity since the appearance of the Europeans, but even with all that has been lost, the sweatlodge is still an integral part of the culture.
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