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Smudging is a sacred ceremony of most First Nations. Depending on the geographic location, sweetgrass, sage and/or cedar can be burned to purify the body, mind, heart and spirit of all persons who enter the ceremonial area. This allows the people to participate fully in whatever event is happening later; smudging can also be done as a separate sacred ceremony. Many First Nations people understand that there are negative forces which can cause harm: smudging is a method to protect oneself from these. Smudging should be done starting the burn at the tip of the plant. The plant should be used until about 5 cm, including the roots, are left; this part is to be returned to Mother Earth to assist in replenishing her. During the smudging, people through motions of their hands cover their body with the smoke; completion is indicated by turning the palms of the hands down. After each person has carefully smudged, the smoke is allowed to stop burning.

William Asikinack

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