Sundance Protocols

Deciding to Dance

To dance or not to dance is your own personal decision. Do not allow others to make the decision for you. You must have a reason to dance. For example, you can dance for your own healing, for someone in your family who may be sick or may be faced with a difficult life situation, or for a friend who may be sick, for a person who cannot dance either for disability grieving or other. You can also dance for the healing Mother Earth and the well-being of all beings in Nature.

Give yourself time, at least one year, to prepare for your dance. Once decided, you then give tobacco offering to the Sundance Chief and explain why you have decided to dance. Remember, you’re making a four-year commitment to Sundance.

Attending Sundance Meetings

Sundance meetings take place four (4) times a year. This is done to keep the Spirit of Sundance alive and strong. If you decide to Sundance, you must attend at least one of 4 Sundance meetings. You may attend all 4 meetings, it’s all up to you.

The 4th meeting takes place one evening before the Sundance ceremony begins on a Friday. If you miss all 4 meetings, the Sundance Chief has the right to refuse you because it could get very difficult for you throughout the course of the ceremony. In this case, you may start the following summer, but you can attend the Sundance meetings over the course of the year. 

What you need to dance

For men, your sacred colours, an eagle whistle (one will be given to you if you don’t have one), a wrap (worn like a skirt) and Sundance badge (one will be given to you if you don’t have one).

For women: a long skirt, sacred colours, an eagle whistle and a Sun Dance badge (one will be given to you if you don’t have one). Women on their Moon Time will have a special lodge built outside of the perimeters of the Sundance Lodge. You will still be Sundancing.

All dancers will need warm clothing (in case it gets cold), bedding (mattress, sleeping bag, pillow) and a polyethylene tarp (in case it rains). If you smoke, you may bring in cigarettes (Menthols are the best).

Who may attend a Sundance?

Aside from Sundance Elders, special guests, drummers/singers and helpers – supporters of dancers, dancer’s family members, individuals needing help in their lives or doctoring by gifted healers, and anyone wishing to witness and experience a Sundance may attend the ceremony. 

The Whapmagoostui Sundance does not discriminate against members of other world nations. Any member of the world nations may attend. However, because of limited space in a Sundance Lodge, priority is given to Cree or other First Nations members in need of healing and a better and healthy life.

In a Sundance, each day, prayers are sent to all nations of the world.

Ground Rules

The Sundance site is Sacred Ground. It’s where we give thanks for, respect and honour life.  It is here we pray to the Great Spirit for guidance on the Path of Life. It is a place to interact with many people, so we are obliged to follow certain rules to keep the site clean, in order, and maintain peace at all times during the Sundance.

The following are guidelines to follow when you’re present in and around the Sundance Lodge (hereafter “the Lodge”):

  • Absolutely no food or water is to be brought close to the Lodge.
  • Absolutely no drugs or alcohol are allowed on Sacred Grounds.
  • No cell phones are allowed inside the Lodge.
  • Inside the Lodge, cigarette butts must not be disposed of on the ground (Butt cans will be available).
  • No swearing inside the Sacred Grounds is allowed.
  • No spitting inside or around the Lodge.
  • Arguing or any type of open conflict will be not tolerated within the Sacred Grounds.
  • Garbage must be picked up and placed in appropriate containers.
  • Absolutely no electronic devices such as iPods or mp3 players and no loud music around the Lodge will be allowed.
  • No sexual activity should take place inside the Sacred Grounds during the course of the Bahkudassimouwin Ceremony.
  • For dancers, abstinence from sex at least 4 days before and after the ceremony is recommended.
  • Parents are advised to closely watch over your children.
  • If you choose to camp out at the Site, please be mindful of your neighbours and put lights out after the ceremony is done (night break).
  • Bring your own plates, utensils and cups for the feast
  • Women on their Moon Time should not go in past the boundary around the Lodge.
  • Be prepared for all types of weather (hot, cold, rain, fog, etc).
  • No pets are allowed on the ceremonial grounds.
  • If you see children doing mischief around the ceremonial grounds, intervene a good way (Don’t get upset).
  • Remember: help out where help is needed.

During the fours days of the Sundance Ceremony, it is the time to be compassionate, display kindness, honour, humility and, above all, respect for all.

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