What it is
Smudging is a ceremony for purifying or cleansing a person or place.
Why it matters
The question of whether or not to smudge as a non-indigenous person is a good one. Who am I to head to the local new age shop and pick up a shell, some sage and a feather to cleanse myself, my friends or family and my home because it feels good? As a descent of colonialist and living currently on the unceded and ancestral territories of the W̱SÁNEĆ, Esquimalt and Songhees, is it culturally insenstive of me to appropriate this traditional Indigenous practice from a people that we decimated? Is it enough for me to educate myself by reading about the historical signifance of smudging and have an intellectual understanding of its use?
I don't have a concise answer but I am curious and exploring what feels right.
Here's an idea. Perhaps in the privacy of my own home I could create a simple ceremony that is inspired and based on this practice without it trying to be anything else. Would it be disrespectful to use the smoke from a burnt herb to honour a higher power/creator and mother earth? To use the framework as shared in this amazing video, but change the words, actions and intentions?