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Ahwahnee Village


Sweathouse chapᵓ (chapc) (Southern Miwok)
tcapu'ya (Southern and Central Miwok)

Sweathouse
[click to enlarge]

Sweathouse
The sweathouse, heated by an oak-wood fire, was used by men before hunting and for curative purposes. After one to three hours in the sweathouse, the deer hunter would emerge and bathe himself in a nearby pool of water. He then rubbed himself with wormwood or another aromatic plant to remove human scent, which would allow the hunter to get closer to his quarry. A sweatmaster guards the entrance, which faces the morning sun. Only people in good standing with the tribe are allowed inside.

This sweathouse replaced several earlier sweathouses that stood on this site. The first was built in the 1930s by Chris Brown (“Chief Lemee”), as part of the re-created Indian Village constructed here in the late 1920s.

This sweathouse is built on a framework of four incense cedar poles covered with successive layers of buckbrush, wormwood, pine needles, cedar bark, and earth.



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