What is Smudging?
Smudging is an Indigenous ceremonial or spiritual practice to prepare a sacred space, cleanse energy, facilitate healing and promote spiritual connection. It cleanses the air, helps purify the body, mind and spirit and has medicinal properties.
While performing a smudge, a bundle of dried medicine is ignited. The flame is then gently blown out, allowing the medicine to smolder and produce smoke. The person performing the smudging uses their hands or a feather to direct the smoke over themselves, others, or around the area or objects being cleansed or blessed.
Why is Smudging in Library Spaces Important?
As a community-led library system, we are committed to ensuring that our spaces are responsive to the needs of our customers, including our Indigenous customers. EPL operates on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis Nation; being in good kinship with the original caretakers of the land is important.
Where can I smudge at EPL locations?
To date, smudging has been offered at PÎYÊSÎW WÂSKÂHIKAN in Stanley A. Milner and has gained significant popularity among visitors. Recognizing this and the importance of smudging within the library setting, we are launching a smudging pilot at our Lois Hole (Callingwood) Library, opens a new window. This initiative is a direct response to the valuable feedback on the growing interest in smudging and the request for additional locations to provide this practice. With limited ceremony spaces available in Edmonton, we aim to provide more opportunities for individuals to engage in smudging and foster a culture of shared learning. We will continue to engage with the community about additional locations for this practice.
PÎYÊSÎW WÂSKÂHIKAN [PEE-YE-SOU WAASK-A-HIGAN]
PÎYÊSÎW WÂSKÂHIKAN | Thunderbird House is EPL’s Indigenous space built for ceremony and Indigenous gatherings inside our Stanley A. Milner Library. This room was built with its own HVAC system so that smudge smoke is contained within the space. You can book an appointment with our Elder-in-Residence, opens a new window Elder Jo-Ann Saddleback or come to one of the ceremonies or drop-in smudging times available in the space.
Lois Hole (Callingwood) Library
To provide smudging services more broadly to the community, we are launching a smudging pilot at our Lois Hole Library and have purchased a portable air filtration system to support this service. We encourage community members to rent the program room at this location for ceremonies or other gatherings involving smudging. EPL also is working with the community to offer cultural programming in the space that includes smudging.
The Lois Hole catchment area consists of a high population identifying as Indigenous. Additionally, the Lois Hole Library provides library services to the Enoch Cree Nation reserve, which is home to nearly 1,700 First Nations individuals. Many of these members reside in Edmonton, in close proximity to our Lois Hole Library.
Where can I learn more?
To learn more about smudging, we recommend the following resources: