The Traditional Sweat of an

Eastern Woodland People


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Walkingfox carries the Sacred Fire from the Creator
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What is an Eastern Woodland Sweat?


I have never written about a Sweat Ceremony before because I was

taught that our Sacred Ceremonies are just that, Sacred!

There is a certain book about sweats that was written by a non Native

from New England which is pretty vague and really not about my People.


The book is honest and up front, I believe, and did explain a lot, in general.

The author states that he got permission from all of the People

written about in his book and does not go into anything sacred.


But, what is missing in all of this, is the Traditional way that my People

and many other New England people did their sweats.

After reading this book and with much prayer and permission from Creator,

I am writing about my memories of the Traditional Sweats of my people.


Please keep in mind that up until the late 90’s my People were a small,

close knit tribe and outsiders paid little attention to our village.

There have been very few Traditional Sweats in New England

since my grandfather, the Sachem, passed.

Now, Indian country is inundated with many casino Indians

and they all want to get on board the money train.


At our sweats, there was an alter, a pond, and a lodge

and they all overlooked the Pequot River.

At least once every moon (13 moons) we would have sweats

to clean our minds and bodies from bad spirits.


Before first light on the day of the sweat, our Sachem (my grandfather)

and the elders would work on the alter getting it ready for sunset.

The alter, which was about 20 feet from the lodge opening,

was scrubbed clean and then prayers were offered

asking permission from Creator to have this sweat,

the pathway and lodge was

cleared and cleaned by the clan mother’s.


The fire pit was cleaned, cleared and prepared by the fire keeper and his assistants.

This fire pit (along the side of the path) was a hole in the ground with large boulders,

so that as the fire gets white hot the ashes will fall away from the sweat rocks.

The sweat rocks are placed onto the fire and removed just before the ceremony

and placed into the lodge pit without allowing ashes into the lodge.

There are a number of types of sweats done by my people,

but, for now, I will only talk about a men’s sweat.


Because the sweat lodge is some distance from the village, there is no privacy problem.

At the set time of the ceremony, men one by one, kneel at the alter to ask forgiveness

and permission to sweat, which is extremely important.

You should not leave the alter until you are sure that you have a clear mind

and clean spirit, Creator will know.


Next, everything is placed on the alter, keeping only comfortable clothing

to be decent while walking the path to and from the lodge.

The Sachem or leader is first, followed by the elders and

the rest of the warriors and guests.

Next, the fire keeper brings in the hot rocks and closes the hatch,

which always faces the Traditional direction.

The sweat can last for hours, up until whenever.


At the end of the sweat, one by one, depending on the time of year,

everyone came out, went into the pond or Pequot River and finally,

 into the Longhouse for a hot shower and a warm pot luck meal.





You may contact Sachem Walkingfox at:

sachemuncas at



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Sachem Speaks Wordpress

My Smudging Blog Spot


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Responding To Inquisitive Minds Since November 24, 2009

Last edited November 12, 2022

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