Scattered in remnants, the skeletons stand testament to past ceremonies.
Near the end of the Sibbald Lake on Sibbald Flat, across the field from Stop 9 on the Sibbald Flat Trail, reside skeletons of structures created predominantly from poplar and willow branches. This is the site of The Sun Dance Ceremony which took place here in June of 1984. A faint trail approaches the interesting apparition in the grassland and there is entry at the historical plaque placed here to explain and commemorate the spiritual ceremony.
An excellent article on Sibbald Flat may be accessible at a page called Speechless. The narrative is very informative and revealing from a unique and individual perspective.
The faint trail, through grass, passes a structure that has collapsed. A short distance further, the remnants of the Sweat Lodge and another shelter still remain remarkably intact after 27 years.
In spite of open exposure to the elements and a rugged winter, they have not changed a lot since my hike here last year to Deer Ridge and Eagle Hill.
A circuitous route is taken around the Sweat Lodge for photographs of the structure remaining stubbornly intact. This is a spiritual place to the Nakoda-Stoney people and respect for this special location is intuitive. Colorful cloth on the branches is reminiscent of Tibetan prayer flags.
An additional structure hosts a present day fire pit and arches of willow branches clearly define its original purpose.
The site, on this warm, sunny day is a reminder of the spiritual bond each of us is entitled to experience and enjoy. Even this brief visit conjures up images of the celebration hosted here in the summer of 1984. The experience enlightening and with reluctance, the day continues with the return home to Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
At any religious site nothing must be left beyond footprints and all that may be taken away are photographic memories to ponder, remember and share.
Modern society has a lot to learn about the importance of a relationship with nature.