Guidelines for Indoor or Outdoor Indigenous Ceremonies

1.0 Scope

This policy applies to all students, staff, faculty and visitors to the University.

2.0 Policy

Under the Province of Manitoba’s The Non-Smokers Health Protection and Vapour Products Act smudging and the use of tobacco in pipe ceremonies indoor are permitted. Brandon University has recognized that smudging and pipe ceremonies are a part of many Indigenous Peoples’ traditional ways of life and are therefore permitted on campus.

Members of the University community shall contact the staff in the Indigenous Peoples Centre to inform them of a planned ceremony and/or to receive guidance. The staff of the Indigenous Peoples Centre will then notify the Dean or Director of the building involved and the Director, Physical Plant of the time and location of the ceremony.

Signage will be posted on the door to the room where the ceremony is being held. The signage will be removed once the aroma of the ceremony is dissipated.

Permanent smudging and kullik burning locations include the He Oyate Tawapi Room in the Health Studies Building and the Indigenous Peoples Centre in the George T. Richardson Building. Both of these locations have ventilation systems for this purpose. A number of other offices, classrooms and gathering spaces in the Health Studies Building are similarly equipped.

If outdoor fires are requested, an outdoor Open Air Fire permit is required from Brandon Fire and Emergency Services. Users are to contact the staff in the Indigenous Peoples Centre for assistance with set up and safety equipment, and to apply for the permit.

3.0 Definitions

3.1 Pipe Ceremony

Tobacco is used in pipe ceremonies by a pipe carrier to carry prayers to the Creator.

3.2 Smudging

The act of smudging is part of the traditional lifestyle and culture of Indigenous Peoples. Smudging involves the burning of traditional medicines (cedar, sage, sweetgrass, and/or tobacco).

Sage is a herb that grows naturally in the prairies and produces a musky odour. Sage smells slightly sweet when it is dried and burned. Though the scent is fairly strong and distinct when it is burned, the smoke associated with it is minimal and lasts a very short time.
Sweetgrass is long, braided strands of a specific grass variant found in wetter land areas. It has a very mild aroma and produces even less smoke than sage. A sweetgrass smudge is burned primarily for purification and to help create a positive mind set.

Cedar emits a pleasant smell. It is used for healing and to attract good energy.

3.3 Kullik

A kullik is a soapstone lamp containing seal, whale, bear or caribou oil that burns very slowly, has very little smoke and a moderate smell. The kullik-burning is a ceremonial practice of the culture of Inuit people. Traditionally, the kullik provided heat, dried clothes, melted ice etc. Today, the burning of the kullik is ceremonial.

4.0 Accountability

The Vice-President (Administration and Finance) is responsible for the communication, administration and interpretation of this policy.

5.0 Review

Formal review of this policy will be conducted every three (3) years. This policy may be revised or rescinded if the President deems necessary or if there are changes within legislation which require such.

6.0 Previous Policies

Policy Guidelines for Traditional Aboriginal Activities on Campus, October 29, 2003 (revoked)