Traditional Lakota Sioux Inipi Gatherings

Lakota style Inipi (Sweat Lodge)

These teaching come for the ancient Lakota traditions whose origins in antiquity; as based on the Woptura (Chipps) lineage, taught to Salvatore Gencarelle.

In the 1890s the Lakota were forced upon the reservations and the ceremonies outlawed, Woptura’s sons, Horn Chipps and Moves Camp, prevented their eradication by taking them underground. Generations later the Grandchildren of Woptura began teaching non-Lakota these traditions.

Salvatore went through an intensive mentoring period that requires both dedication and sacrifice. It was through this mentoring process the he earned the responsibility to pass the teachings on.

Salvatore Gencarelle and his family are traveling from Arizona to bring his knowledge and experience to this workshop. Salvatore has worked in these traditions with the Chipps family for 23 years as a Helper, singer, and altar preparer.

Items for each participant to bring:

  • 100% cotton material ¼ yard of the six colors (black, red, yellow, white, blue, green)
  • Large pouch of loose tobacco
  • Cotton string
  • sweet grass or cedar
  • A food item or dish (for the feast afterwards or to eat during the day)

Salvatore Gencarelle is cultural bridge between Native American (Lakota-Sioux) healing ceremonies and the modern world. Sal went through an intensive mentoring period that required both dedication and sacrifice for 17 years as a ceremonial guide, creator, singer, and mentor, under the direct supervision of a Native American healer. It was through this process he earned the responsibility to pass these teachings on. Sal is also an artist, photographer, freelance writer, a musician, and a Paramedic. He is healer working with both Native American traditions and those of the modern world.

Sal currently travels across the country and world teaching and helping others learn from his experience. Through his organization, Helpers Mentoring Society, he provides various mentoring services helping people find true healing and how to live in the fullness of life. His teachings include the 4 Universal Gifts to Humans, The Leadership Initiation Program, Vision Quests, and the Map of Life.

Salvatore is the author of A Man Among the Helpers (ISBN 978‐1‐60264‐939‐2) and e‐book (ISBN 978‐1‐60264‐940‐8) which describes his experiences and wisdom gain while being mentored in Native American Healing.

For more information please visit

Native American Sweat Lodge Introduction - by Sal Gencarelle

The Native American Sweat lodge is one of the most profound healing and transformative indigenous ceremonies that I know. At the age of 16 I attended my first traditionally run Sweat Lodge and personally experienced the power and beauty of this ceremony. I’ve repeatedly witnessed this transformative and restorative power of the sweat lodge for over 23 years.

Sweat Lodges Around the World

There are many forms of the sweat therapy found across the world, from the European sauna to the Japanese Sento. Understanding of how sweating in a controlled manner in combination with ceremonial approaches can bring about healing and a deeper sense of connection is a universal concept. This is a good indication that sweating as a method of healing is a fundamental principle of health to human beings.

In America the indigenous structure used to induce sweat therapy is commonly called the Sweat Lodge. There are many variations of the sweat lodge among the different Native American peoples. One of the most common versions of the sweat lodge has comes to us from the Lakota Sioux. The Lakota Sioux version of the sweat lodge is called the Ini Kaga (E-nee Kah-gah) - To Make Live or commonly the Inipi (E-nee-pe), which simply means - We Live.

Legends of the Lakota Sweat Lodge

The Lakota Sweat Lodge is ancient. According to one legend, the Inipi originated with a cultural hero called Stone Boy. This young man was a sacred being who had great knowledge at birth. He was the first to construct and use the Inipi to bring his uncles back to life after they were bewitched by an evil sorceress.

Another, less known legend, tells the origin of the Sweat Lodge back in time when the first peoples began to have conflicts over territory. At this time the population of humans grew to a point where people began to compete over natural resources. People began to become more physical orientated and less spiritually connected. Conflicts erupted and people began to shoving matches that soon led to greater violence. These battles were just external expression of what was occurring within people on a deeper level. During one of these conflicts a person killed another, intentionally. This was the first time a human ever murdered another human. After this, people’s spiritual connections weakened even more and they began to experience hardship and difficulty in their lives that was previously unknown.

During this time a young man was internally guided to seek a way for people to come back to a deeper spiritual relationship. He was guided through a series of Vision Quest to the west coast of an ancient land. There, at the place where the earth, stone, water, and air mixed he Vision Quested in the mist of the Ocean. Through his quest he was given a gift of the first sweat lodge. He returned to the people with this new powerful gift of purification, healing and rejuvenation. The Sweat Lodge ceremony aided people to once again live in physical and spiritual harmony with themselves, each other, and the land.

Sweat Lodge and the Helpers Mentoring Society

For the past 23 years I’ve been educated in Lakota traditions and ceremony, becoming what is known as a Helper. During my training I came to a deep understanding of the power of the Inipi ceremony and how it can benefit modern people. Over the course of my training as a Helper I was taught every aspect of the ceremony; from stacking the fire, to singing the sacred songs, leading the ceremony, and even teaching others how to become Helpers.

The time for many others to become Helpers is now at hand. We, the people that understand the current disconnected and dysfunctional state of humanity, are being called forward to help return balance to human existence. In this task we have been given powerful gifts to assist us -such as the Sweat Lodge. Now is the time to learn how to competently utilize these sacred ceremonies to ensure the continuation of human life upon the earth. If you have the heart and mind to learn then now is the time. 

Costs and Contribution

All money collected for these workshops/courses is to off set costs involved in providing these workshops/courses. There are significant costs incurred in hosting and providing these learning opportunities.

We do not, nor ever, will demand payment for participation in these Advanced Connection Practices (aka Ceremony).

People do not have to pay to smoke a Canupa or Inipi. All donations are based upon a person's willingness to support what they love and care about. Any charges are for the education and sharing of knowledge acquired through of years personal sacrifice.

Suggested contributions can be made via installments, possible work exchange. Contact Marina on for more information.

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