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Lakota Country Times

Providing your child with a belief system is one of the greatest gifts

align=left border=0 img src=clients/lakotacountrytimes/amanda.jpg>Some time ago, we built a sweat behind our house in our house. At first, it was a little difficult for me to take the responsibility of doing so but in my heart I knew it was right. I needed it and my family needed it and the women society I belong to needed it.

We live on the outskirts of Martin and to go to a good sweat we usually have to travel to Wanblee or to Allen. So it was inviting to think that we could have one near and not have to travel those miles before and after a sweat.

The original intent was to acquire land nearby from the tribe, just an itty bitty sum of maybe four acres, so we could build an inipi for women to use. Some of the women in our women's society work in the healing field with healing families and in recovery, so this would be something that would be a positive influence on their work. It wasn't as easy as we thought, we ran into road blocks so that is when I decided to take that responsibility.

On the reservation, there are tona sweat lodges around. You can find them at the sun dances and the homes of spiritual leaders and at family homes.

We live in Lacreek District and as it is, we don't get a lot of services that other districts do because of our location, so there are times we have to travel to other districts to participate in a wacipi or other cultural events. We are a border town community.
So in doing so, we knew would have a great responsibility, not only to our community in doing it in the spiritual right sense but in taking care of it.

Not in getting the material for it but in keeping it in a sacred manner. In finding and taking care of the rocks to finding wood to watching out for it and keeping the fire in a safe manner.

We live in Bennett County so we have to be respectable to the law here with open fires. So when we do a sweat, we have to notify the police department to let them that we will be having an open fire lest someone sees it and calls the fire department and causes unnecessary action.
It's a simple sweat but a great healing place for cleansing and healing and prayer. We are just glad we have it, maybe someday we will be able to have a privacy fence to shield it from the public and have lots of rocks and wood.

The point of this article is that the inipi is a spiritual connection for cleansing and we did it because it was needed.

Several years ago, I worked at Little Wound School and was part of a parenting program designed to help parents become better parents.
The school developed it because they needed help from the parents to help students become better academic learners. The way I seen it, it was frenzy as schools tried to find methods to improve their adequate yearly progress as mandated by the No Child Left Behind through Congress. And helping parents enhance their parenting skills was one of those methods.
And in order for parents to help their children, they needed help with their parenting skills, especially in raising children in communities that are more violence prone.

It took some researching and designing to try to come up with a parenting curriculum that would fit the families we serviced.

As facilitators of the curriculum, we noticed that in working with parents to understand that it is important to a strong family structure to plan activities in the areas of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

Those four behavioral aspects are important to living healthier lives and important to teach our children how to develop these in their lives. In working with the young parents in these activities we soon noticed that a great sense of spirituality was lacking in the family structure of those young families.

Not only the sense of a spiritual connection to the Creator but lacking in the sense of more Christian activities for those who beliefs were along those lines.

From the discussions we had during the sessions, families weren't doing enough with their children to teach them to have a spiritual connection with whatever family beliefs or religious beliefs they had. And without that connection, there is a consequence. And for our youth, lack of identity can be a consequence.
So in knowing that, that is what prompted me to take that responsibility of providing a place for spiritual connection, whether it be for my own family or for those that need a place for purification and prayer closer to home.

Providing your child with a belief system in a higher power than themselves is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. That is what will give them the strength they need to have success in their life and to find the happiness they need.

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