“Can I Ask…” Smudge Sticks Edition | 17-06-17

Anonymous tumblr user asked:

“Can I ask about the whole issue with smudge sticks?”

This issue with smudge sticks is a little bit complex, but I’ll try my best here.

If you strip it down to the bare bones, the issue is cultural appropriation if the term is used by someone outside of the Native American culture and community.

Cultural appropriation is the act of stealing something from a closed culture or religion and using it without the proper knowledge or consent. It is very damaging to the people you are taking from; it disrespects them, their culture, their heritage and can often contribute to erasure.

The reason why there’s an issue surrounding the use of the term “smudge sticks”, is down to the fact that unless you are Native, have been taught by someone from that culture, or have been adopted into it through marriage, adoption or otherwise, you have no right to practise this ritual. 

And there is the other issue.

Smudging is not what many of us are lead to believe. You may see lots of people saying “yah, just spread the smoke from the sage through your home to cleanse it of negative energy!” and that’s fine. But that’s not smudging. That right there, is smoke cleansing. You can do it with any cleansing herb. 

Smudging is a ritual that unless indoctrinated into Native culture, most of us know nothing about. 


TL;DR By claiming we are smudging when really, we’re smoke cleansing, we are stealing, spreading false information, contributing to the erasure of cultural practises and being massive bumholes.

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