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

Snuneymuxw, province sign land transfer agreement that includes parts of Mount Benson

First Nation sees economic development opportunities through forestry partnerships

Islands Trust Conservancy gets funding for protection of at-risk species

Conservancy manages habitat for more than 25 plant and animal species at risk

Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre returns to the stage in Port Theatre debut

Theatre group presents ‘2 Across,’ described as a ‘middle-aged romantic comedy’

Purebred breeders go for a walk in Nanaimo to show off their dogs

Purebred dog breeders sometimes get a bad rap, says event organizer

City reviewing plans for huge Sandstone project in south Nanaimo

Seacliff Properties says it’s been told to be ready for a public hearing this fall

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports personnel aboard fishing vessel made the find

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Most Read