Norwood Elementary Gets Green Light For Smudging

Pipestone Flyer

Last year, quiet but confident student Zander Johnson of Norwood Elementary School was one of the catalysts for offering the First Nation practice of smudging to students. Strongly supported and encouraged by Norwood Principal Jodie Mattia and Family/School Liaison Officer and FNMI Support worker Kristy Strong-Gialet. The program has now been approved despite it being suspended for a time while the school board considered some of the concerns that were raised, and was celebrated by the school, staff and invited guests in a meaningful, heartfelt and entertaining event on March 20, 2015.

Smudging, despite the visual assumption, is the practice of fanning the scented smoke of burning sweetgrass and/or sage over oneself, typically with a feather. The ceremony is believed to be a cleansing and purification of the mind, body and soul. Prayers are spoken during the smudging, carried up by the smoke to the Creator.

Young people, like Zander, have desired to see this practice made available to students as a part of their cultural heritage, or may have been struggling at home or having trouble at school, and want to take a moment to focus and prepare for the day. Now that the school and school board have been able to work through the difficulties with accommodating such a request, the desire has become a reality, to the approval and applause of many.

The celebration held at Norwood Elementary School saw invited guests, students and staff who were willing to participate engage in a smudging ceremony, to be followed by an assembly where students and guests listened to drum circle performers, and words of greeting spoken by Wetaskiwin Mayor Bill Elliott, School Board Representatives and Elder Roy Louis of Samson Cree Nation. The assembly concluded in willing participants joining hands in a ‘Round Dance’ where the group moved in a shrinking circle, reflecting the nature and meaning of this ‘friendship dance’.

Photo: Elder Roy Louis of the Samson Cree Nation joins hands with Norwood students in a Round Dance. Photo by Ken Matthias.

Just Posted

Wolf Creek Schools raises Treaty 6 flag for first time

Chiefs, school officials took part in a ceremony that is aimed at acknowledging Treaty 6 land

Bonus RCMP officer for Breton region courtesy County of Wetaskiwin

Councilors examine details of enhanced RCMP officer for far-west side of county

County residents want to stop curve removal projects

Public meeting in Division 4 hears opposition to removal of gravel road speed curves

Soup and steak in Dora’s Kitchen this week

Get out your mallet for this Swiss Steak recipe

County council moves ahead on ‘speed curves’

Safety concerns, build standards basis for removing certain curves in county

Environment Canada confirms Ottawa area hit by two tornadoes Friday

At one point more than 200,000 hydro customers were blacked out

Coaches, players on Alberta university rugby team buckle up for the Broncos

16 people died when Humboldt Broncos bus collided with a semi-truck in rural Saskatchewan

The Vatican ‘owes God an apology,’ activist says in letter to Pope Francis

Letter came after a report on sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children in six Pennsylvania dioceses

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

VIDEO: Inside an eerily empty mall in Canada

Only nine of 517 retail spaces are open for business as the grand opening postponed to next year

Tens of thousands without power following tornado in Ottawa region

Hydro Ottawa says more than 170,000 customers were without power early this morning

BALONEY METER: Do Liberal policies mean a typical family is $2,000 richer?

MPs took to Twitter to talk how ‘typical’ Canadian families have more money due to Liberal policies

Most Read