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Sweat lodge builder receives diversity award

Allan Curley is the manager of the PEI Youth Centre and the recipient of the 2017 Premier’s Diversity Leadership Award. The award was presented during Public Service Week to recognize Curley for his leadership in overseeing the construction of a sweat lodge on the grounds at the PEI Youth Centre in Summerside.

Curley and his staff worked with members of the Aboriginal community to gather the materials required to build and operate the lodge. Construction was completed in the fall 2016 with the goal of having the first sweat lodge ceremony by the end of June 2017.

What is a sweat lodge?

According to the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of PEI, a sweat lodge is circular-shaped structure designed for the purpose of cleansing the mind, body and spirit. Through the use of heated stones, known as grandfathers, water is sprinkled to create a steam needed to cleanse. Sweat lodges are conducted by a leader who has earned the right to hold sweats by gaining the necessary wisdom and knowledge taught by the Elders. Sweats can be for general prayer time or for specific healing of a person or community. The sweat lodge ceremony is very humble and starts with Mother Earth. The sweat lodge teaches how to have respect for women in the community and in the world. It teaches respect, patience, endurance and speaking one's mind freely.

The annual Premier’s Diversity Leadership Award celebrates staff who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion in the public service.

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