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SHARING THE

SWEAT LODGE

Photo/Laura Hoxworth

The Green River Preserve, a summer camp in the mountains of North Carolina, aims to connect young campers with the natural world. Activities include hiking, camping, fly-fishing and pottery, and older campers have the opportunity to participate in a Native American-style sweat lodge.

Adapting a Lakota spiritual tradition teaches children about Native American culture By Laura Hoxworth aking one last, deep lungful of cool mountain air, I bent my head to duck through the small opening of the domed shelter before me. The thick layer of tarps draped carefully over the top instantly shut out all light inside the small space, creating an atmosphere of eerie tranquility, a sharp contrast to the beautiful summer day in the woods. Crawling toward the back of the shelter, I focused

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on my breathing and the feel of the dirt beneath my hands to shut out the tinge of claustrophobia I felt creeping at the edges of my consciousness. Working as a counselor at The Green River Preserve, an environmental summer camp for second- through twelfth-grade children in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, this is how my first experience with a Native American-style sweat lodge began. I signed up for it largely out Earth+Sky

of curiosity. While I knew that a sweat lodge was a spiritual ceremony and a sort of purifying steam bath, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But I was intrigued by the opportunity to learn more about Native American culture. Many of these types of lodges, inspired by Native American culture but led by nonNatives, exist across the country as more and more non-Natives become interested in reconnecting with the earth through

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Earth + Sky Magazine  

Celebrating Native Americans in Today's World.

Earth + Sky Magazine  

Celebrating Native Americans in Today's World.

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