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Smudge room officially opens in Mary Duncan


This past week at Mary Duncan School, students and teachers of Mary Duncan School as well as Swampy Cree Tribal Health gathered inside the schools’ new smudge room, a room which will allow students, staff and others to come and smudge.
“The decision was made when the school was rebuilt after it burnt down (in 2014) to incorporate the smudge room,” explained Jan Jebsen, Facilitator for the Aboriginal Voice and Action Committee for Mary Duncan School.
“It’s a great opportunity; it has taken a while to get here. It was said that all of the schools in the division will find things to do here for promoting cultural knowledge, teachings and practices. We have lots of ideas, it will just take some time to provide the opportunity because funding is an issue,” added Jebsen.
At the opening ceremonies of the smudge room there were a few representatives from Swampy Cree Tribal Health who explained what smudging represents, and the importance of smudging as part of the indigenous way of life.
Jebsen also added they plan to put furniture and some more student artwork in the smudge room to make it more practical,
“It will take us a while to make it more functional then for just smudging,” said Jebsen.
The process of getting the smudge room has taken some time before it could publicly be announced.
“It was the introduction to the smudge room in a more public way. It has taken a while for funding to be applied for, received and get some infrastructure in, set things up and pick a time when people are available because everybody’s very busy, so I’m thankful people could come and support this because it’s important to assist in the reclaiming of culture that was lost, especially in the area that we live in,” added Jebsen.
With more plans for the smudge room, there will be more developments and an enhanced way for students to participate in indigenous practices in the school.

Trevor Wright