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College-wide Policies

Smudging and Pipe Ceremonies

In support of the cultural integrity of our Indigenous/Native American students, faculty, staff, and guests, and in accordance with the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Colorado College has developed this Smudging and Pipe Ceremonies Policy. The smudging and pipe ceremonies described in this policy are the only exceptions to Colorado College smoking, tobacco, and fire regulation policies. The practice of smudging and pipe ceremonies are protected under Colorado College’s Anti-Discrimination Policies and Procedures.

Responsible office
Student Life
Responsible party
Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students
Last revision
September 2018
Approved by
The Cabinet
Approval date
September 2018
Effective date
September 2018
Last review
September 2018
Additional references
Anti-Discrimination Policy

Scope

All financial and administrative policies involving community members across campus are within the scope of this policy. If there is variance between departmental expectations and the common approach described through college policy, the college will look to the campus community to support the spirit and the objectives of college policy.

Policy

Purpose

Colorado College recognizes that our institution was founded upon, and rests upon, ancient tribal lands first occupied by Indigenous/Native American Peoples, primarily the Ute, Cheyenne, Arapahoe, and Kiowa Nations, and other First Peoples of these lands. The college also recognizes that there are many indigenous religious ceremonies and sacred traditions practiced by Indigenous/Native American Peoples, including smudging and pipe ceremonies. Smudging and pipe ceremonies may incorporate the smoke of sage, sweetgrass, cedar, tobacco, and other related medicinal plants as elements of purification and sacred ceremony.

Colorado College has designated venues on campus for Indigenous/Native American students, faculty, staff, and guests to practice smudging and/or pipe ceremonies associated with traditional religious ceremonies and observances.  Additionally, the College recognizes and supports Indigenous/Native American students engaging in these sacred practices within the privacy of their residence hall rooms.

The purpose of this policy:

  • To protect, promote, and facilitate Indigenous/Native American students, faculty, staff, and visitors practicing Indigenous/Native American religious traditions and ceremonies, including smudging and pipe ceremonies, and to do so  in harmony with established college smoke and fire policies.

Practices related to this policy will assist organizers of smoke-generating Indigenous/Native American religious ceremonies and practices to identify appropriate spaces, proposed communications, and safety measures to endeavor meaningful and healthy experiences for all members of the campus community.  Students, faculty, staff, and guests who  are not Indigenous/Native American, but who wish to engage in ceremonies and practices which also generate smoke, should contact the Chaplain’s Office.

Policy

Colorado College is committed to facilitating religious ceremonies and sacred traditions for Indigenous/Native American students, faculty, staff, and guests while acknowledging that some people may have health considerations which could be impacted by ceremonial smoke, and that others may be bothered by the smoke. This policy recognizes the College’s priority to provide environments free from recognized health hazards while recognizing and accommodating the integrity of Indigenous/Native American religious ceremonies and sacred traditions. Typically, the smoke associated with smudging and/or pipe ceremonies lasts for a brief duration of time. However, it is possible that others may smell the smoke from the lighted sage, sweetgrass, cedar, tobacco, and other related medicinal plants.

This policy shall supersede in the event of any conflict with policies as outlined in the Colorado College Smoke and Tobacco-Free Campus Policy and Residential Life and Housing Policies. All students are expected to abide by policies and procedures as outlined in Student Honor and Community Standards.

Procedures

Indigenous/Native American students, staff, faculty, and guests who wish to engage in religious ceremonies and sacred traditions of smudging and/or pipe ceremonies in designated spaces must first:

  • Submit a completed Ceremonial Use Notification Form;
  • This form is available online on the Chaplain’s Office website, and the Residential Life & Campus Activities website;

https://www.coloradocollege.edu/offices/chaplainsoffice/

https://www.coloradocollege.edu/offices/residentiallife/

  • Hard copies of the Ceremonial Use Notification Form are also available at the Chaplain’s Office or the front desk of Mathias, Loomis, or South Halls.

The completed Ceremonial Use Notification Form will be reviewed by the Indigenous/Native American Support Advisory Committee, which includes: current Indigenous/Native American Colorado College students, an Indigenous/Native American Colorado College alumnus, Indigenous/Native American tribal Elder(s), a counselor specializing in Indigenous/Native American support, the chaplain to the college, senior associate dean of students, member(s) of Residential Life & Campus Activities, and a member of Facilities Services.  The purpose of the review is to notify key members of the campus community so that they can support those Indigenous/Native American students, faculty, staff, and guests wishing to engage in smudging and/or pipe ceremonies; the Advisory Committee is not an approval body.

The completed Ceremonial Use Notification Form will be kept on file with Campus Safety, Residential Life & Campus Activities, and the Chaplain’s Office.

Designated Spaces

Indigenous/Native American students, faculty, staff, and guests may practice smudging and/or pipe ceremonies in the following indoor, outdoor, and event spaces:

  1. Residence Hall Rooms

Colorado College employs the following practices regarding smudging and/or pipe ceremonies in residence halls, as practiced by Indigenous/Native American students:

  • Residential Life & Campus Activities staff and Campus Safety staff should never interrupt Indigenous/Native American students in the practice of religious ceremonies and sacred traditions;
  • If Residential Life & Campus Activities staff and Campus Safety staff are unsure about the appropriate us of smoke-related items as a part of an Indigenous/Native American spiritual practice, then those staff members should document the incident in detail, taking care to respect these items by not touching, handling, or confiscating them.
  1. Office and Work Spaces

Indigenous/Native American students, faculty, staff, and guests may practice smudging and/or pipe ceremonies in an office or work space provided that they:

  • Have a completed Ceremonial Use Notification Form on file with Campus Safety or Residential Life & Campus Activities, or the Chaplain’s Office;
  • Notify their immediate supervisor; it will then be up to the immediate supervisor to inform others as needed, emphasizing the importance and sacred significance, and that the practice/ceremony is not to be interrupted.
  1. Approved Classrooms and Meeting Rooms

Instructors/facilitators must:

  • Inform participants/meeting attendees of the intention to use sage, sweetgrass, cedar, tobacco, and other related medicinal plants in the space; instructor will discern reasonable notice for their students;
  • Provide reasonable notice to neighboring classrooms and other spaces;
  • Observe all emergency procedures, including locating the nearest fire extinguisher

Students with physical sensitivities to smoke or scent should be allowed to make alternate arrangements with the instructor regarding course participation.

  1. Outdoor Spaces
  • Indigenous/Native American students, faculty, staff, and guests may practice smudging and/or pipe ceremonies in all outdoor spaces on college property.
  1. Event Venues
  • Event venues in which Indigenous/Native American students, faculty,staff, and guests wish to practice smudging and/or pipe ceremonies must be evaluated for approval at least three (3) business days in advance of the event by the director of Facilities Services and the director of Campus Safety/Emergency Management;
    • The director of Facilities Services and the director of Campus Safety/Emergency Management will:
      • Evaluate the fire and ventilation systems in the requested space- If not viable for safety reasons, another space will be recommended;
      • Inform other relevant support staff
  1. Other Considerations
  • Facilities Services and Campus Safety/Emergency Management will work with the organizers to ensure fire alarms will not disrupt the smudging and/or pipe ceremony as practiced by Indigenous/Native American students, faculty, staff, and guests.

Any member of the Colorado College community who has questions regarding smudging and/or pipe ceremonies should contact a member of the Native/Indigenous Support Advisory Committee.