Cultural Activities

Sweat Lodge Ceremony

Skwachàys has a traditional First Nations Sweat Lodge and offers private Sweat Lodge Purification Ceremonies, which are lead by a Sweat Lodge Keeper, who adheres to Indigenous traditions.

The Sweat Lodge, located in the rooftop garden, is a domed structure that symbolizes Mother Nature’s womb. It is constructed from inter-woven willow branches. During the ceremony, the Keeper places heated rocks – traditionally known as “grandmothers and grandfathers” – in the Lodge to cleanse and purify the participant’s heart, soul and spirit by bringing life balance and connecting them to Mother Nature.

Traditional Smudge Ceremony

Skwachàys has an authentic Indigenous Smudge Room on its Raven Level (6th Floor). The shape of the willow frame represents the mother’s womb.

Indigenous people use plants in a sacred manner called smudging to purify a person’s body and spirit as well as a home or area. In a Smudging Ceremony, sacred plants are burned, surrounding the participants’ body and senses in the aromatic smoke.

Three different kinds of plants are used in Northwest Indigenous Culture to smudge. Cedar Bows are burned for the purpose of cleansing; the smoke rises, and the prayers make their way to the Creator. Sage is burned in smudging ceremonies to drive out ill feelings or influences, protecting the place of ceremony. Sweet Grass, one of the most sacred plants, is frequently burned after either sage or cedar to bring in positive influences and energies.

These ceremonies are personal and private, so arrangements must be made in advance. A minimum number of people is required. Skwachàys Lodge’s Sweat Release Form must be completed by all participants.

For more information and costs, please contact us.

Studio Visits With Artists

We are happy to arrange for studio visits with our Indigenous artists in residence. The shared Artist Studio is located in the basement of our building and is home to a number of different artists working on projects throughout the year including jewellers, painters, carvers, and more!

These artists in residence are provided with safe and affordable housing, so that they may develop personally and professionally over the course of a three-year tenancy. Many of our program alumni have been received with critical acclaim by the international art community for their bodies of work and are recognized locally and nationally for their artistic achievements.

Skwachàys Lodge Studio