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Smudging as healing practice approved for St. Paul Public Schools

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Native American traditional practice of smudging is now allowed at St. Paul Public Schools.

The district announced that its board of education approved the smudging policy Tuesday evening. Smudging is the cultural practice of burning sage or other sacred herbs for healing and to cleanse the soul of negative thoughts.

In part, the policy recognizes tobacco, sage, sweetgrass and cedar as traditional Native American medicines.

Students and staff will now be allowed to use these medicines to conduct individual or group smudging, however the practice must be conducted under the direct supervision of an “appropriate school district staff member,” the school district said.

Smudging will also need to be practiced in a manner that abides by the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act. 

Smudging was already taking place on an informal basis at some St. Paul schools, but supporters wanted to develop an official policy. Supporters said it is a way to create a sense of belonging for Native American students who make up nearly 4% of the district’s population. 

Source: CBS Minnesota

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