Carleton University respects and supports Indigenous cultural and spiritual practices on campus. The university recognizes and accepts that First Nations, Inuit and Métis have traditional practices and sacred ceremonies. These practices can take different forms, including smudging ceremony, pipe ceremony or lighting of the qulliq. Typically the amount of smoke associated with these ceremonies is minimal and lasts a very short time.
Smudging is an Indigenous ceremony that involves the burning of sacred medicines. The most common medicines used in a smudge are sweetgrass, sage and cedar. A smudge is burned primarily for purification and cleansing to help create a positive learning environment.
A pipe ceremony is an Indigenous traditional practice carried out by a pipe carrier. The ceremony produces smoke from the lighting of sema (tobacco) which is also one of the sacred medicines.
Lighting the Qulliq
The qulliq is a crescent shaped lamp carved from soapstone, fuelled with oil from seals, and a wick made from moss or Arctic cotton grass. The qulliq is an oil lamp, traditionally used to survive, it was used for lighting, heating and cooking. Today, qulliq lighting ceremonies often mark the start of important events.
Procedures for use of traditional medicines on campus
Carleton University’s Fire Prevention Officer, Environment Health and Safety, has reviewed and assessed several locations on campus to allow for use of traditional medicines as described above. In all cases, if you plan to have an event with traditional medicines that produce smoke, please complete the Use of Traditional Medicine – Request for Permit. For an “Approved Space” submit the request at least five business days in advance of your event.
If the space you want to use requires approval, please submit request at least 10 business days in advance of your event. Timothy Golding, the University Fire Prevention Officer will contact you regarding the approval process.
In order to reduce the number of inquiries regarding the smell of smoke in buildings, on the day of the event, post a notification sign indicating the location will be used for Indigenous ceremonial purposes. Click here to print the notification sign.