The focus of school is to be a place of learning. The inclusion of relevant cultural, spiritual and traditional knowledge and practices in schools can positively impact student success. Smudging is an important Indigenous practice (Smudging in Schools, Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools).
Smudge involves burning a small amount of sacred medicine such as sage, sweetgrass or cedar inside a smudge box, cast-iron dish or abalone shell. During smudge, participants sit in a circle and listen to the Elder/facilitator offer teachings about the practice and its role in historical and contemporary Indigenous communities. The smudge bowl may be passed around the circle as part of this traditional way of opening or beginning time together. Participation in smudge is informed, voluntary, and always connected to learning. If, for any reason, a student is not participating in the experiential learning, the teacher will ensure that associated learning outcomes are available in other learning opportunities.
As part of our ongoing learning and ways of knowing, all students at Children’s Village School have the opportunity to participate in a traditional smudge daily. We are honoured to be able to have Ms. Tanya offer this learning opportunity to our students daily. As explained by Ms. Tanya:
“We smudge for many different reasons, and each tribe has a different interpretation, but we all have shared commonalities in this practise. We smudge to cleanse ourselves of negative energies, thoughts and feelings we may have picked from the world. We use the smoke from the burning sage, sweetgrass and/or other sacred medicine that has been gifted to us from Mother Earth for the purpose of smudging to carry our prayers to the spirit world. We smudge in our ceremonies to heal and pray for people. We smudge as a form of meditation to center our mind, heart and soul. The word that all tribes across North America use to describe themselves means human being, or the original people. When we were given the practice of smudging there were only human beings here, so we interpret that as the practice of smudging is for all human beings, so anyone and everyone can participate in smudging!”
For additional information, please contact your student’s classroom teacher.