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Permanent sweat lodge constructed at RCMP headquarters in Dartmouth (2 photos)

Sweat lodges are part of Indigenous tradition and are commonly used within the Indigenous community
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NOVA SCOTIA RCMP
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A first in Canada for the RCMP, the Nova Scotia RCMP has constructed a permanent sweat lodge at Headquarters in Dartmouth.

Sweat lodges are part of Indigenous tradition and are commonly used within the Indigenous community. Made of natural materials, it is a space where sacred purification ceremonies or “sweats” are held for the purpose of spiritual cleansing. RCMP employees will be able to attend sweat ceremonies for self-reflection and prayer in the lodge.

Yesterday, a ceremony was held at the Nova Scotia RCMP Headquarters where A/Commr. Brian Brennan, Commanding Officer of the Nova Scotia RCMP, was joined by Chief Leroy Denny of Eskasoni First Nation and Councillor Kerry Prosper of Paq’tnkeke First Nation.
 
“The RCMP in Nova Scotia continues to enhance our relationship with Indigenous communities,” said A/Commr. Brian Brennan. “We want to better understand and support the teachings of the Indigenous people and believe that a permanent sweat lodge will afford us that opportunity for all employees.”

As part of the ceremony, White Eagle Sundance Chief William Nevin presented on the significance of a sweat lodge. He was accompanied by Cpl. Dee-Anne Sack, Community and Aboriginal Diversity Policing Services, and Sundancer and retired member, Jeff Ward, who explained the meaning of the four rounds of a sacred sweat lodge ceremony. The ceremony closed with the Mi'kmaq Honour Song followed by the blessing of the lodge.

In 2017 the Nova Scotia RCMP introduced the Eagle Feather as a new option for victims, witnesses and police officers to swear legal oaths, similar to a Bible or affirmation. It is also offered as a comfort for a client when interacting with employees at a detachment. The Eagle Feather was another first for the RCMP in Canada.

Sweat lodge background: 

  • During a sacred ceremony, participants sit inside the lodge where heated rocks (grandfathers) are brought in and water is poured over them to create steam.
  • Participants are offered a safe space to gain greater insight and balance into their behaviour, thinking and attitude.  

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