Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Saint Paul Public Schools Unanimously Supports Smudging in Classrooms


August 25, 2022

Lisa Bellanger, Co-Director of the American Indian Movement, smudges a group of supporters on Tuesday, August 23, advocating for a policy that allows students to smudge in all schools within the Saint Paul School District. (Photo: Darren Thompson for Native News Online)

ST PAUL, Minn.- The Saint Paul Public School Board (SPPS) voted unanimously on Tuesday to support a new policy that allows Indigenous students to smudge in schools.

"The policy that we want to bring forward is to introduce smudging as a cultural, social, and emotional intervention," said SPPS's American Indian Education Program Supervisor John Bobolink during Tuesday's meeting. "I know that there has been use of smudging with religious ceremonies or spiritual ceremonies, but smudging is not exclusive to those events."

The Saint Paul Public School district is Minnesota's second-largest school district and serves nearly 40,000 students. The new smudging policy states that the school district recognizes that tobacco, sage, sweet grass, and cedar are traditional American Indian medicines and essential elements of purification and sacred ceremony.


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