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TPL ends Orange Shirt Day with Indigenous prayer

Posted on October 5, 2022 by Taber Times

By Ian Croft
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

With the library fully taking part in Orange Shirt Day, they held several events leading up to the day itself where they held a traditional Indigenous prayer called a smudge. Jessica Goodrider-Loewen, the Indigenous Family Liaison Worker with FCSS, led this prayer for everyone who came out for the event.

“This was a smudging of the library that Dawn (Kondas, Program Coordinator at the Taber Public Library) asked if I could do,” said Goodrider-Loewen. “Lisa Sowinski has done it in the past, I believe she’s been very busy, so I was very honoured to do this for Dawn. Smudging is a way to pray, it’s a way to cleanse. So, when we smudge, we pray for our communities, our families, and our friends. I smudge daily unless my energy is not very good and then I wait till I feel better to pray. It is just my way of praying — different tribes have different ways of smudging, so I was raised with using sage and sweet grass. Other tribes use charcoal and sweet grass, or sweet pine, so this is just how I learn to do it it’s not the way that everybody else would do it.”

of any of the societies, Goodrider-Loewen was given the right to smudge by her mother who was then given the right to smudge by her grandmother Poosaaki, who was a medicine woman and a member of the First Nations spiritual societies.

“Smudging, to my knowledge, is a way of blessing a location. I’ve had it done in my home — there was a lady named Mrs. Many Bears, she was a medicine woman, she blessed my home that way with the sweet grass to make it safe, and just to cleared of any negative energy,” continued Goodrider-Loewen.

Taber Mayor Andrew Prokop, who was present at the event, briefly spoke about his thoughts on the day and activities going on throughout.

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