Nanaimo Courthouse, where a B.C. Supreme Court case on smudging at school was heard this fall. (News Bulletin file photo)

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Smudging ceremony wasn’t a demonstration

It is inappropriate to involve students in any spiritual ceremony with prayer, says letter writer

To the editor,

Re: Province argues smudging relates to curriculum, Nov. 26.

The desire of the province to teach children the history of indigenous people in British Columbia is appropriate and long overdue. It is especially important to correct the errors of the past to help indigenous students feel more included in the school system. Teaching cultural practices will help other students understand them more and will help the indigenous students feel more supported.

Smudging is a cultural practice that has a spiritual aspect that involves praying and the idea of cleansing. This can be taught to students by demonstration by elders or older indigenous students. However, there is a difference between a demonstration and a ceremony. This ceremony has the students involve themselves in a process that includes a spiritual aspect. It is not an official religion but it is just as inappropriate to have the students in the public school system involved in an indigenous spiritual ceremony as it would be to involve them in a Christian or Muslim or Jewish or Buddhist or any other spiritual ceremony that involves prayer which is no longer allowed.

There is also the question of the idea of the health question. Smoking of any kind is not allowed in public buildings in B.C. so how is having smudging inside a classroom not violating that law?

B. Collinge, Nanaimo

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Religion shouldn’t be forced on students

RELATED: ‘Our culture is not a religion,’ indigenous educator tells Nanaimo court in case of smudging at school


The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin. If you have a different view, we encourage you to write to us or contribute to the discussion below.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Uptick in calls to Haven Society crisis line as restrictions ease

Organization reminds people of their range of services

Proposed $2.5-million renovation at Dover Bay secondary would increase school’s capacity

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools to submit draft concept plan to Ministry of Education by Aug. 1

Nanaimo Art Gallery announces new executive director

Former Prince George gallery director Carolyn Holmes to take on role

School district reveals restart plans for Nanaimo-Ladysmith

K-5 students will see two days of instruction a week, 6-12 students once a week

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: No government interested in paying for rail right now

Rail advocates are ignoring the basic problem of affordability, says letter writer

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Stolen gargoyle returns to its perch in Nanaimo’s south end

Petey, a concrete gargoyle statue, was returned by police after City of Nanaimo crew found it

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

RDN Transit to see rollout of 15 new HandyDart buses

Buses will have temporary protective barriers installed to prevent spread of COVID-19

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

Most Read