Making Space For Ceremony
For many Indigenous Peoples, Ceremonies have always been a part of everyday life for individual and community health and wellbeing. As a global pandemic, COVID-19 has impacted all of us; but some are impacted more and others less given pre-existing inequities, disparities, injustices. nowhere is this embodied more than in the context of Indigenous ceremonies, which are often communal, always sacred, activities that have taken place across Turtle Island since time immemorial. In keeping with Indigenous law, these ceremonies are indispensable.
Indeed, ceremonial life has a direct relationship to the health of the community; we are exploring this relationship in a COVID-19 environment, particularly in light of the state prohibiting organized public events and social gatherings. As such, our goal for this research is to explore and understand how ceremonies are being affected by and adapting to our changing COVID-19 reality. Our research focuses on the operationalization of the Sweat Lodge Ceremony, Vision Quest Ceremony, and Indigenous Creation Story/Celebration of Life Ceremony (also known as the 12-day Ceremony) during COVID-19 in Fall 2020. This research is intended to both support Indigenous sovereignty by exploring culturally safe and community-led solutions to adapting to immediate and future pandemics, while also documenting decision-making and adaptive protocols for future generations.