Student filing human rights against school over smudging stance

APTN National News
His story is getting attention from across North America.

Stephen Bunn is a high school student from Manitoba who says he’s being disrespected by his school.

He is preparing to file a human rights complaint after being forbidden by school officials from practising his spiritual beliefs.

APTN’s Shaneen Robinson brings you the story.

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15 thoughts on “Student filing human rights against school over smudging stance

  1. Glad he’s standing up for his Indian Rights! Our people have been harassed far too long. He’s not harming anyone. I bet there are people who wear cologne with much more scent than sage. People will make a big deal out of issues they do not understand.Stay strong & motivated to do good things in life.

  2. How many people who complain about smells have been diagnosed by a chemical sensitivity specialist? In fact there is very little demand for technicians working in that field. Most of us understand that the world we walk through smells and that you live in an environment that isn’t always fresh smelling. I occasionally drive by the local mushroom farm in St. B. I am wretching when I do so but this is not an allergy. Nor am I allergic to the overwhelming stench of perfume or cologne in an closed in elevator. I just don’t like it.It is generously estimated that about 20% of people living in the US have true sensitivities to a variety of things. As Canadians do not reside in as many densely populated places as the US I suspect it is lower in Canada.

    We are such a pampered lot. If a child has said ” I don’t like that smell ” in the fifties the parent would have said hold your nose closed it will pass.These kids and some early adult teachers have always been whisked away by their parents and have a created an expectation that the world revolves about them. Find a space for something meaningful at school.

  3. Most of the schools across Kanata are in league with the government why? Because the government controls the education and will not fully allow the schools from teaching the Indian Act and Treaty Rights why? Because once the Indian Act and Treaty Rights becomes a part of common knowledge at its fullest in this country,it will open the eyes of the younger non Indigenous peoples and therefore,the government will lose everything they’ve worked so hard for in keeping the Indigenous person in limited means and thus,will dramatically crumble their way of governing in this country….It’s all about power and money…

  4. If the health concerns were really a prevalent problem all public places would have smell regulations. Even smokers are allowed back in to enclosed public places. All these years people have been smudging, smoking, putting on perfume and cologne excessively, but when a native kid wants to pray in his own home then attend school like a good citizen with other kids, there is a fuss because some folks just don’t like the way he smells. That’s a school bully sweet talking the school board.

  5. are you kidding! me. This country had let every immigrant practice their religious belief and the school board wont let the first people to do the same… Shame on that school . their board. What colour are you and religion are you ? shame shame

  6. If I understand correctly, he has not been forbidden, but has been asked to respect the existing school rules regarding the wearing of strong scents. I don’t think this is unreasonable. He could change his clothes after he smudges, smudge outside, or with the window open, or after school.

    1. kinda defeats the whole purpose of what smudging is about. if people are “scentsitive” then they can wear a cheap and easy environmental mask. demanding that people change their fundamental ceremonial and spiritual beliefs bc someone is too lazy or selfish to NOT wear a mask is just ridiculous. for that matter. expecting the ENTIRE world to regulate itself bc you cant wear a mask is ridiculous.

  7. This young man has a spiritual right to smudge, This keeps him from depression over his younger brother’s death and allows him to eel close to him. The school has no right to try and take that away from him. Be prepared Steffan that this will be a hard fight people shun what they do not understand. I know it is invasion of your rights but if they call you into the office suggesting this is weed demand they drug test you immediately once a drug test shows you are drug free they will not stand a snowballs chance in hell. Good luck strong spirited one and may these ignorant people come to realize that your spirit shines bright as the sun and positive light will conquer rumors, hatred and negitivity. Brightest of Blessings… <3 Nemaste..

  8. If Muslims are allowed to wear their head wear and pray in our schools then Steffen Bunn and all other religions or spiritual beliefs should be allowed!

  9. Stay strong. People are waking up, have faith in that. The school here welcomes smudging and clean the school every year with sage. Nusdeh Yoh…. house of the future.

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