First sweat lodge in Sioux City now being built
After years of planning, Sioux City will be welcoming it's first sweat lodge in the West side, thanks to a collaboration between local Native American Tribes and Jackson Recovery Centers. I went to War Eagle Park earlier, where tribe members started building the sweat lodge this morning.
Tucked behind these trees on West 4th Street, a new sweat lodge is underway. It's a sacred place for songs and ceremonies for Native and Non-Native Americans. And out of respect, we were not allowed to film inside.
"It is a very powerful place and I think you'll see that," said Frank LaMere, a Winnebago Tribe activist.
Located just between the War Eagle Monument entrance and Jackson Recovery Centers, local Native American tribes have chosen this to be place of restoration and healing.
"Healing begins when those who are disinfected begin to act. And that's what you see here begin today," said LaMere.
LaMere said with the scores of drug abuse and addiction, this is what the community needs; a sweat lodge to help detox and purify.
"We're responding to a need in our community with Jackson Recovery and our community will continue to work with that," said LaMere.
Santee Sioux Tribe member Chris Denny has been sober for more than 30 years and says the sweat lodge has helped his recovery.
"It helps me deal with my spirituality and my recovery and the sobriety," said Denny.
Denny added, he believes this will enrich many lives.
"Jackson Recovery and the people in the community. It benefits everybody. Non-natives and natives," said Denny.
"We have some Native American patients that have been going off sites for sweats, so they're very exciting to have it so close to our in-patient facilities," said Ben Nesselhuf, Jackson Recovery Centers.
While there is no date as to when the sweat lodge will open, the tribe members stayed at the sight, to continue building it well into this evening.