Ceremony at the U of A


The University of Alberta respectfully acknowledges we are located on Treaty 6 territory, a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous peoples including the Cree, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibway/Saulteaux/Anishinaabe, Inuit, and many others whose histories, languages and cultures continue to influence our vibrant community.

The U of A is committed to providing all our members an inclusive and respectful environment and opportunities to nurture inter-cultural relationships. The U of A encourages Indigenous peoples to honour and practice their traditions and ceremonies in their place of study, work, and residence.

What is Ceremony?

Ceremony is a traditional way of prayer, common to many Indigenous peoples globally. Here in North America (known by many Indigenous nations as Turtle Island), ceremony often involves burning one or more medicines from Mother Earth. The four most sacred medicines used in this part of Turtle Island for ceremonies are tobacco, sage, sweetgrass, and cedar. Once the medicines are lit, the rising smoke is considered a purifying agent for the mind, body, and spirit, as well as a connection to the spirit world.

The most common ceremony held on U of A campuses is the cleansing ceremony, which is also called "smudging" or "prayer." The cleansing ceremony may be held when there's a tragedy within a family or community or anytime balance is needed for mental well being.

Ceremony Guidelines

The U of A has ceremonial guidelines to ensure Indigenous peoples feel comfortable practicing ceremony on campus. Cleansing ceremonies are possible on all U of A campuses.

Please consider letting those in nearby spaces know that you are holding a ceremony.

For more information about Ceremony at the U of A, review the Ceremony Guidelines.