Improved access to Indigenous ceremonial practices on campus

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to announce updated guidelines in support of smudging and other Indigenous ceremonies involving fire or smoke on campus.

Indigenous ceremonial practices—including but not limited to smudging, ceremonial fires, lighting the qulliq, and pipe ceremonies—are welcome across University of Toronto campuses. Access to ceremonial elements is an important part of many Indigenous Peoples’ way of life.

The new guidelines address recommendations made in the Answering the Call: Wecheehetowin — Final Report of the Steering Committee of the University of Toronto on the Response to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada and are aimed at reducing existing barriers to Indigenous ceremonial practices. They were developed in partnership with the Office of Indigenous Initiatives, Environmental Health & Safety, the Division of People Strategy, Equity & Culture (PSEC), Facilities & Services, and endorsed by the Elder’s Circle, the Council of Indigenous Initiatives, the Indigenous Student Advisory Committee, First Nations House, and multiple University governance tables.

The new guidelines improve access to Indigenous ceremonial practices in as many spaces on our campuses as possible. Advanced notice plays an important role for pre-planned ceremonies—taking into consideration the needs of individuals with smoke and scent sensitivities and allowing Fire Prevention to enable safe, uninterrupted events.

For planned events with smudging and all other Indigenous ceremonies involving smoke or fire, please refer to the notification process at your local campus:

In support of this initiative, there are a series of frequently asked questions and notice of Indigenous ceremonies posters available for community use on the People Strategy, Equity & Culture website.

We extend our appreciation to those of you who have supported the development of these new guidelines and processes.