Architecture Building Open for Smudging

October 2, 2023

The Architecture Building at Carleton University has been designated a smudge-friendly space on campus.


Smudging is a tradition common to many First Nations and Métis communities that involves burning one or more medicines gathered from the earth. The four sacred medicines primarily used in First Nations and Métis ceremonies are tobacco, sage, cedar, and sweetgrass.


“It is a small but meaningful step in our work to make the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism more inclusive of Indigenous knowledge and practices,” says Director Anne Bordeleau.


Carleton has added more than 40 pre-approved smudge-friendly spaces on campus, including the Architecture Building and Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, which are the first buildings to be entirely smudge-friendly.


This means any Indigenous person who wants or needs to engage in a ceremony can instantaneously engage without asking permission.


To ensure that the use of traditional medicines does not trigger smoke and heat-detecting alarms, the Department of Environmental Health and Safety assessed and designated various locations on campus. There is no longer a pre-approval process requirement for smudging in these spaces.


“When we realized that we could work with the university not just to approve, but actually to pre-approve spaces for smudging, we reached out to staff and faculty to gather a list of spaces that we would hope to have on the pre-approved list,” explains Dr. Bordeleau.


“Between the various requests for classrooms, offices, lounges, or seminar spaces, it very quickly became clear that Indigenous faculty, students, guests, or visitors should be free to engage in ceremony anywhere in our building without asking permission.”


As per Calls 7, 9, 17, 24, and, more specifically, 28, from the Kinàmàgawin Report and The Indigenous Spiritual Practices, Carleton has prioritized reducing the barrier of engaging in Indigenous spirituality and ceremony on campus.

sign that says dedicated smudging space
Signs posted in the Architecture Building indicate it is a designated smudging space
two women standing, one that is holding a bowl and leading a smudging
Smudging took place at the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism’s first annual Indigenous Feast on April 3-4, 2023.
Right: Algonquin Elder Annie Smith St-Georges
Left: Kahente Horn-Miller, Associate Vice-President Indigenous Teaching, Learning and Research
view of the inside of the architecture building, with a concrete floor hallway, and stairs leading to the second floor
Smudging is permitted throughout the Architecture Building