Her Sweat Lodge
Thirty-eight year old Polly Letofsky left her home in Vail, Colorado,
last August to embark on a four-year, 18,000-mile Walk Around The
World. It's a personal challenge for Polly as well as an awareness
campaign for Breast Cancer, a disease that affects women of all
cultures. As Polly was walking with friend Sandra through the Indian
Reservation near the Colorado-Arizona border, they met a Native
American woman who invited them to her tribe's "Sweat"
to share her culture. Polly writes...
I Sweating together...
is a very graceful, petite, Native American woman who treasures
her culture and heritage. I was thrilled when she invited
me to the family Sweat as a way to experience the Ute culture
and accept a spiritual embrace as I walk around "Mother
a sacred, spiritual event amongst the Ute people, involves
a lot of sweating. That's all I knew. The sweat lodge is a
small canvas dome with a center pit for the hot rocks and
represents the womb of Mother Earth. Being very Anglo, I thought
I could handle this just fine, after all, I sit in the steam
room at the Athletic Club all the time!
We got dressed into thin,
cotton dresses that resembled hospital gowns and were given
an introduction as to what we might expect. As women we should
sit with our knees covered. The sweat should last about an
hour and a half, and if we start to feel claustrophobic we
should put our faces to the earth where it's cooler.
into the Sweat Lodge...
the night began to fall and thunder growled in the background
we were led outside barefoot towards the sweat lodge. We entered
clockwise around the rocks and each took a seat on the dirt
The men entered across
from us followed by Junior, a warm man with deeply set eyes,
a big mop of gray hair, and skin resembling soft leather.
As he threw water on the rocks they would hissssssss, and
that seemed to be the cue. One of the men rose, closed the
flap to the outside world and the twelve of us were now alone
in the womb of Mother Earth.
Will Polly make it? Click here to