Sundance Itinerary

Note: It is important to note here that various ceremonies are scheduled for each day of the Gathering. It is also important to know that the Sundance ceremony takes a course of its own. This means that other ceremonies may occur at the blessing of the Sundance Chief, his spouse, and the leading Elders.

The following is a daily schedule of events for each annual Sundance gathering:

Day 1 (Thursday):

Our 4th Sundance Meeting takes place at the Cultural Camp (cabin on the north side), beginning at 9:00 p.m. Those who wish to make a 4-year commitment to Sundance must attend if you have not attended the previous 3 meetings.

Dancers must already have what they need: flags, eagle whistles (if you don’t have one, you will be given one). Men dancers must have their wrap (red cloth worn around waist) and women dancers must wear a long skirt. Flags are 1 square meter of broth cloth, representing your colours. If you haven’t asked for your colours, you may bring blue and white cloth (1 sq. meter each). You must also have your sage bracelets (sage wrapped in red cloth and worn around wrists and ankles).

Sacred Fire will be lit before sundown.

Who may attend? Aside from the Sundance Chief, his family, helpers, and Sundancers – elders, Sundancers’ relatives, friends, supporters and anyone interested in learning about the Sundance and wishing to experiencing it, may attend.

All are welcome!

Day 2 (Friday):

The day begins with a sunrise ceremony. All Dancers must be present.

Nest Ceremony: The Nest placed on the Sundance Tree represents the nest of the Thunder Beings (the king of the winged ones).  Seven (7) men [who’ve lost a parent (s)] will get the willow for the Nest. They will be accompanied by a leader of the ceremony. The will bring the willows and place them where the nest will be placed on the Sundance Tree.

Tree of Life Ceremony: Male dancers will fetch the Sundance Tree (which will be placed at the center of the Lodge). During this time the female dancers will prepare the center of the Lodge where the Tree will be placed. The Sundance Chief will receive the Tree in the ceremony. Then the Nest will be placed on the Tree and the Sundance cloth (minimum 7 different colours) will be placed around the Tree from top to bottom. Once this is done, the Tree will then be placed upright in its place in the Lodge. A feast will then follow in honour of the grandfather Tree.

Sundance Lodge Construction: All male dancers will gather poles to be used for columns and rafters of the Lodge and stalls (for the dancers) inside the lodge. Women will gather willows for flags (used to decorate the Lodge), spruce boughs and place them inside the stalls and at the altar.

Sacred Fire: The Sacred Fire at a Sundance represents the Great Spirit’s Light. It will be placed in front of the Sundance Lodge and lit at sundown.

Dancers enter the Lodge: All dancers will enter the Lodge at sundown with their sacred items (pipe (pipe carriers), flags, whistles) and the ceremony begins. Participants (and visitors) may enter the Lodge.

Day 3 (Saturday):

Sunrise ceremony: Pipe Men will offer a Sacred Pipe from the altar to the Sundance Chief, Elders, Singers, Helpers and the Ceremony will begin.

Pipe Men will offer a Sacred Pipe from the altar to the Sundance Chief, Elders, Singers, Helpers and the Ceremony will begin.

Ceremonies within the Lodge: Following the Sunrise Ceremony, the Sundance will begin with men’s Hanging ceremony, then Piercing and Dragging ceremonies will be doneEach ceremony will be led by a ceremonial leader.

Women’s Piercing Ceremony will follow after the men’s. In the afternoon, the Buffalo Dance and other ceremonies will follow.

At 6 p.m. the Fire Ceremony will begin and the doctoring by gifted healers will take place. Anyone needing help in their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual state will be attended to by gifted healers. Once the doctoring ceremony is donethe Dancers will be then retired for the night.

Day 4 (Sunday):

Note: Ceremonies are scheduled for the day; however, it is important to know that the Sundance ceremony takes a course of its own. So other ceremonies may occur at the blessing of the Sundance Chief, his spouse, and the main Elders.

Sunrise ceremony: Pipe men will offer a Sacred Pipe from the altar to the Sundance Chief, Elders, Singers, Helpers and the Sunrise Ceremony will begin. Everyone will face East and look at Grandfather Sun as he rises over the horizon.

Following the Sunrise Ceremony, the Sundance will then begin with Hanging, Piercing and Dragging ceremonies. The Women’s Piercing Ceremony will follow. These ceremonies may take many hours.

Men’s Hanging, Piercing and Dragging ceremonies: Men will do the hanging, piercing and dragging ceremonies.

Women’s Piercing Ceremony: Women’s Piercing Ceremony will follow the men’s. Female Sundance Elders will lead this ceremony.

Other Ceremonies: Gifting (people receiving pipes, other sacred items), naming (people asking for their Spirit Names), adopting (people wishing to adopt others as adopted relatives) and other ceremonies may take place.

Children’s Ceremony: Children (with the permission of their parents, relatives, guardians) dressed up as Sundancers or other traditional clothing will participate in the Children’s Ceremony. They will come into the Lodge to be honoured as successors for present generations, to carry over Ancestral knowledge and wisdom, Eeyou language, culture and way of life.

Give-Away Ceremony: Sundance Chief/spouse and Dancers who are finishing their 4th Year will do a giveaway in gratitude to the Great Spirit for granting life and divine guidance to all who participated in the Sundance

Windigokan Ceremony: The Suncance ceremony will end with the Windigokan Dancers. This is the last ceremony of the Sundance.

First Drink: Following the Windigokan ceremony, Dancers leave the Lodge and receive their first drink of water from the Sundance Chief and his spouse.

Feast: Community feast will then follow in honour of the Dancers.