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  #1  
Old 05-19-2008, 04:53 PM
chintath chintath is offline
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Default Why some don't sweat

Does anyone know why some American Indian prisoners will not sweat, choosing instead to tend to the fire? (He is full-blood and very spiritual).

I don't know if it is my friend's personal preference or if there is gang tension. I just can't understand what he is trying to tell me in his letters and due to the possibility of having him placed under investigation and hate to ask.

Any thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 05-20-2008, 02:31 AM
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I'm not Indian .....
I cant imagine how you asking him about this will put him under investigation
I doubt the authorities would care who sweats & who tends fire
Im sure he has good reason....but surely only he would know the answer if you want to know.... ask him....
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Old 05-20-2008, 08:12 PM
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Default i dont know

but am very curious myself. If you dont mind ill ask my boyfriend. i know he would sweat when he was in corcoran. im not sure why it would cause any investigation unless he's connected to any gangs. Ill do my best to find out what i can from my boyfriend.
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Old 05-21-2008, 06:38 AM
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to tend fire is sometimes the job of the one who came last on the yard or the youngest. it is a time of "giving", so the others can sweat. sometimes this is asked for (by those they sweat, lead the lodge), sometimes it is offered (by the one who tends fire). it can be a given to the group as a "offering" for something what has been gotten, it can be also a task for somebody who did bring problems to the "group" lodge. all depends the circumstances. there is no easy explaining and there is not just one answer.
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:56 AM
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Hi Chintath, yeah was thinking the same. I come right out with things in the post - damn, maybe too open, but surely the people glancing the letters don't wish to know this type of thing do they? If so then I do put myself in trouble. Also my friend is in SMU II Eyman. Are all people of native cultures allowed to sweat even when in supermax..... I thought that would be taken away, do you know this one? Hmm loads of questions and puzzlements actually but save you from them. Have a good n.... openhand
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Old 05-21-2008, 11:01 AM
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Just a little realisation, the person tending the fire, HAS all the "Intent" of the purification and ritual and is the overseer of the flames...
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Old 05-21-2008, 01:39 PM
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openhand: NO, there are far not all allowed to sweat. I have been in contact with some guys in the past, they were not allowed to sweat and were fighting for this. it depends the State and in level 5, I never did hear they are allowed to sweat. if they are allowed to sweat or to have long hair, this depends from State to State.
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Old 05-21-2008, 03:00 PM
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It has been my experience that certain individuals tend the fire, keep the door, etc... Some may sweat occasionally, others hardly ever. I don't ask those questions out of respect. Their prayers are heard, they are saged down, some partake in the pipe and some do not. It's their journey and that choice is between them and Creator. It's a honor to partake in any part of the ceremony. Keeping the fire and the door is a sacred honor and it allows me and others to be in the circle.

There are things that are unspoken yet understood on a higher level than I can rise too on this earthly plain. Hope this helps.
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Old 05-21-2008, 11:23 PM
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I know in the case of my boyfriend when he went into the prison he did most of his time, they made him cut his hair, he fought it for sometime before he finally gave in and not a week later, CA passed a law or rule or something that basically said he didn't have to cut his hair because of religious beliefs... he was very disappointed... since then he's grown his hair back...

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openhand: NO, there are far not all allowed to sweat. I have been in contact with some guys in the past, they were not allowed to sweat and were fighting for this. it depends the State and in level 5, I never did hear they are allowed to sweat. if they are allowed to sweat or to have long hair, this depends from State to State.
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Old 05-22-2008, 11:26 AM
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Do you visit your friend? Ask him while visiting then you will know why.
Know one will know for sure, everyone has different reasons. It might be anyone of those response or it could be his own preference. He is the only one who really knows.
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Old 05-23-2008, 10:39 AM
chintath chintath is offline
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I have been writing several American Indian inmates, men and women in Arizona (some are released; one was murdered). I am sorry to say but they all report it can be dangerous to sweat. In his latest letter my pal, tells me of one friend, hides the fact they are from rival groups because they are sick of the violence and fighting (they have been in over 15 yrs.). His friend was attacked on his way back from sweating and they try to look out for each other.

My pal says, "The mandatory attendance is self-imposed by inmates (one or two) who come from a highter security unit. ....It's hard to explain politics of prison to someone who has never done time." He goes on to talk about the late drug war and resulting debt among the circle and says, "I would rather see the brothers come to the sweatlodge because they want to not because they have to." He wants his yard to be a nonpolitical yard like he has experienced elsewhere and hope it will be again now that the 2 ruling inmates have been transferred. He hopes, as well as I, "we don't have to walk in fear of each other."

Keep him in your prayers--he is trying so hard to better himself and prepare for his release in a few years. He can't wait to build his own sweatlodge.
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Old 05-24-2008, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chintath View Post
Does anyone know why some American Indian prisoners will not sweat, choosing instead to tend to the fire?

Any thoughts?
My decision to tend the fire has to do with my high blood pressure. While medication addresses my bp in those day to day activities, the heat within the sweat raises my bp to ridiculously high, unsafe levels. Just a thought.
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Old 05-24-2008, 01:26 PM
chintath chintath is offline
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Another Lakota lady told me that also was the reason she didn't sweat.

I just talked to a lady who had sweated in the prison less than a year ago and it was a very safe, spiritual time for them. She also writes someone who sweats in the men's prison and he experiences some safety issues.

But in spite it all, these men still seem to benefit and it is so much better in the lower security levels.

I have had one member here tell me she has tried to get spiritual leaders from the outside to help these men. It's hard to get any volunteers in prisons but if you know anyone, you might point them the way. So many of them can use supplies and firewood. Often in AZ, they don't have a fire to tend. At least they can have a good talking circle. Please call chaplains to donate (and sometimes you have to followup a lot).



Quote:
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My decision to tend the fire has to do with my high blood pressure. While medication addresses my bp in those day to day activities, the heat within the sweat raises my bp to ridiculously high, unsafe levels. Just a thought.
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