Young Adults Books

THE NATIVE AMERICAN SWEAT LODGE: HISTORY AND LEGENDS by Joseph Bruchac. The Crossing Press, P.O. Box 1048, Freedom, CA 95019, (800) 777-1048, (408) 722-2749. Illustrated, index, bibliography. 145 pp., $12.95 paper. 0-89594-636-X

The prolific Bruchac (Abenaki) has written a respectful and respectable treatise on the sweat lodge - describing its history (sweat lodge ceremonies were banned by the U.S. government in the late 1800s), different designs, and its place in the myths (creation, testing, trickster, and healing) of several different tribes. I wonder, though, about Bruchac's intended audience. If this is meant to be an anthropological treatment of the subject, he goes over old, yet welcome, terrain. If it is a guide for non-Indians to understand the traditions and religious aspects of sweat ceremonies, this may be a constructive summation. To his merit, Bruchac, while cautiously encouraging non-Indian sweats, states his opposition to the ommercialization of Native American religious practices, such as the paying of "purportedly Indian teachers" to lead sweats. The book, for either audience, is recommended. Reviewed by: Steve Brock

File: ya315

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Native American BOOKS, text and graphics copyright Paula Giese, 1996

Last Updated: Monday, March 11, 1996 - 11:37:17 AM