Smudging Policy and Requests

Smudge Policy

Approved August, 2016 by the Nipissing University Aboriginal Council on Education


Nipissing University recognizes that Aboriginal students, faculty, staff and community engage in a variety of traditional ceremonies, including but not limited to smudging. This policy is meant to provide guidance to the university community in engaging in the traditional cultural practice of smudging on campus.


Nipissing University supports and respects traditional cultural ceremonies and recognizes that smudging is a form of ceremony and is therefore permitted on campus.

The Tobacco Control Act, 1994, S.O. 1994, Chapter 13 ( recognizes that smudging and tobacco use for traditional Aboriginal cultural or spiritual purposes are exempt.

The Nipissing University Smoking Policy acknowledges this exemption: “This policy acknowledges the Tobacco Control Act, section 13, under which it makes exemption for the use of tobacco by Aboriginal people for traditional cultural purposes. Nipissing University recognizes tobacco, sage, sweetgrass and Cedar as traditional medicines for ceremonial purposes to promote unity, friendship and support. Aboriginal programming develops respect and knowledge of the sacred medicines which are essential to building an enhanced understanding of Indigenous peoples of Canada.”


Smudging is a traditional Aboriginal cultural practice involving the burning of sacred medicines including tobacco, sage, sweetgrass and cedar.


The policy acknowledges and supports the Nipissing University Strategic Plan 2015-2020 in the pillars of The Student Experience and Community Engagement. The Nipissing University Strategic Plan 2015-2020 states that “Connections between Nipissing University and the communities we serve are vital. Our campuses each have strong connections locally, as well as to Aboriginal communities and communities of interest” (Community Engagement). Additionally, two priorities identified include: “Create bridges to success, especially for students from northern communities, and Aboriginal, first generation, and international learners” and “Encourage diversity in our student body, faculty, and staff” (The Student Experience).

The policy is in alignment with the Aboriginal Strategic Plan 2015-2019 approved January 29, 2015 by the Nipissing University Aboriginal Council on Education. The Aboriginal Strategic Plan is rooted in the Guiding Enji Giigdoyang Principles, which include the support of “the ethical inclusion of Indigenous knowledge in classrooms and curriculum” and “increased Aboriginal representation on campus within a welcoming, culturally supportive environment.”


Nipissing University supports the practice of smudging for different purposes on campus, including but not limited to cultural events, for community engagement, or engaging with Indigenous pedagogies in the classroom. Examples of events include one-on-one sessions with Elders or staff, opening/closing prayers, feasts, sacred circles, gatherings, meetings, powwows, drumming and singing.

Please contact the Secretary to the Director, Indigenous Initiatives to schedule a smudge at least 72 hours in advance at 705.474.3450 ext. 4899 or via email at