Cultural Activities

Traditional Sweat Lodge Ceremony

Skwachàys has a traditional First Nations Sweat Lodge and we offer private Sweat Lodge Purification Ceremonies. The Ceremonies 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 you to Mother Nature.

Traditional Smudge Ceremony

Skwachàys has an authentic  Indigenous Smudge Room on our Raven Level (6th Floor).

The shape of the willow frame represents the mother’s womb.

Native 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 feeling 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. Minimum number of people are required. For information and costs please contact us.

“IACE is a new initiative lead by the Artists in Residence at Skwachàys Lodge to invite hotel guests to experience a range of unique skills exchange opportunities. Contact the Hotel Front Desk to reserve your spot!”

Next Indigenous Arts & Culture Exchange happens on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 from 6:00-8:00pm in the Welcome Room. Contact Hotel Front Desk to reserve your spot!


Jewelry with Jeneen Frei Njootli

Artist Bio:

Jeneen Frei Njootli is an interdisciplinary artist, co-creator of the ReMatriate Collective and a member of Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation who has been living and working as an uninvited guest on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, Sto:lo and Tsleil­Waututh territories for a decade. She uses mixed media, sound-based performances, textiles and installation work to explore history embedded in cultural materials, geopolitics and the politics of Indigenous art. For her recent Media Arts Residency at the Western Front in Vancouver, she hosted a free workshop on how to create and update Wikipedia pages for Indigenous women artists. The 2017 recipient of the Contemporary Art Society Vancouver Artist Prize, she has exhibited at the Fierman Gallery in New York, the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and the Vancouver Art Gallery among others. After graduating from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in 2012, Frei Njootli completed her MFA at the University of British Columbia in 2017.