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Edmonton Public Schools said the smudging ceremony was part of its efforts to teach students about reconciliation with Indigenous people. Smudging is a type of ceremony practised by certain Indigenous cultures. It typically involves the burning of sweetgrass, sage, tobacco or cedar, according to the Canadian Encyclopedia.
In a statement, the school district called the incident “deeply unsettling and unacceptable for our staff and students who were participating in the smudging ceremony.”
“We have spoken with EPCOR about the incident, who we know is taking it very seriously,” district spokeswoman Carrie Rosa said in an email Saturday evening. “We also informed families about the incident through a letter that was sent home yesterday. We are all disturbed about what took place.”
The Twitter user who described the incident said Saturday evening that she was seeking permission to comment from the school’s principal.
EPCOR did not identify the contractor involved. The utility said it would not release additional information until its investigation is complete.
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