At Native American Connections, we believe that healing from substance abuse and co-occurring disorders cannot be separated from culture and spirituality. Native traditional healing practices and cultural enhancement activities are both core and complimentary interventions in promoting wellness and long-term recovery. These practices and activities are woven throughout our behavioral health programs. They include:
As in ancient circles of elders, people sit in a circle, listen deeply, and speak from the heart. The Talking Circle may begin with prayer or expressions/stories provided by the Traditional Practitioner conducting the ceremony. Participants may purify, or "smudge" with the smoke from burning, sacred herbs. A feather or "Talking Stick" (talking object) is passed around the circle, in a "sunwise" direction, to each participant. This element serves as an invitation and as encouragement, for those who hold it, to speak from a place of sincerity and truthfulness. Each person has an opportunity to speak their heart-truth without interruption, criticism or judgment. The Talking Circle provides self-empowerment and healing.
As with our ancestors, the Sweat Lodge is a purification ceremony. It is conducted in a simple, round structure of willows, covered with blankets and tarps. Preparations for the Sweat Lodge are conducted in a "sacred manner,"from cleaning and caring for the grounds, to building and tending the fire to heat the stones, to covering or dressing, the Lodge. During the ceremony, heated stones are placed in the center of the Lodge, while the Sweat Leader guides the people in prayer, song and personal expressions. The Sweat Leader will teach about the Lodge and Native traditions, and will practice rituals with sacred herbs and water. The Sweat Lodge, representing the womb of Mother Earth, is a sacred space to ask for healing, forgiveness, hope, vision, to give thanks, and to ask for anything else you may need in your journey of change. This ceremony is impossible to describe fully, as each Lodge varies according to the orientation of the Traditional Practitioner leading the Sweat.
Indian Rehabilitation (Men's Residential Center) hosts a sweatlodge at 636 North Third Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85003 open to the communtiy -men and women every Tuesday evening, starting at 6:30pm.
Guiding Star (Women's Residential Center) hosts a sweatlodge at 3424 East Van Buren, Phoenix, AZ 85008 open to the communtiy -women and chilldren every Tuesday evening, starting at 6:30pm.