North Dakota

Fargo police plan cultural training after sweat lodge arrest

Fargo police are planning cultural sensitivity training after an officer responding to a report of a fire arrested a man at a Native American sweat lodge.

Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney says the man's disorderly conduct arrest was the result of a misunderstanding, and that the man has been released from jail and will not be charged.

"We got some new people on the police force and they don't know about the sweat lodge. The older guys do, but this is ... he really didn't know how a sweat lodge works or what happens so we're gonna go through what this is about and what's happening out there," Mahoney told KFGO radio (http://bit.ly/2kWKQit).

A sweat lodge is a covered dome, sometimes a tent-type structure, used in Native American cultural ceremonies. Willow branches are used and water is poured over heated rocks to produce steam.

This particular sweat lodge was approved by Fargo's Native American Commission and has been at the site for years, but could use some signage, the mayor said.

"If you look at the site you wouldn't be able to tell that this is a Native American area of worship," he said.

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Information from: KFGO-AM, http://www.kfgo.com