Yeah it’s pronounced here as skaw - bay’ and I believe it is an Ojibway word (Ojibway is also called Saulteaux and I don’t know why.). That person is responsible for arranging the rocks in a pile that will be covered in wood and set alight. The skabey brings the hot rocks (grandfathers) into the centre pit with a shovel or pitch fork once all the participants are inside surrounding the pit. Then the skabey closes the tent and the sweat formally begins with the conductor inside labeling hot water onto the rocks and steams the place - it’s totally dark except for the dull glow coming from the rocks, and it becomes hotter each time the steam rises from freshly labeled water. We did gentle sweats - because we were working with immuno-compromised individuals - so maybe only 13 rocks. Still it is quite intense and one must stand-by attentively for the conducted will call fro the door to be opened and this is done in haste as the heat is physically harder on some then on others. This closing and opening is done 4 times. There are often prayer offerings of cedar or tobacco some sprinkled on the hot rocks. Prayers may be said, songs may be sung accompanied by drums and rattles, stories may be shared - especially in the way of teachings. There is commonly food and drink after people emerge from the lodge - often fruit. And water for sure.Is skawbey a translation of “fire keeper“ role?
Some people liken the sweat lodge to the womb. And some refer to it as their version of what white people call “going to church”.