Saint Peter’s Hospital in Helena Wednesday dedicated a new room where Native Americans can carry out a traditional healing practice called “smudging.”

A drum circle just outside Saint Peter’s main entrance heralded the opening of the hospital’s new “Culture Room”, a former office just off the hospital’s main chapel, which can be used for “smudging”, a ceremony in which sacred plants such as sweet grass are burned to cleanse a person of negative energy.

Little Shell Tribal member Daniel Pocha said getting hospitals to allow smudging has always been hit and miss.

“The individual you ask might say yes, the next one might say, go out in the cold. So it is really great that this has come to fruition.”

Great, not only because the culture room is convenient, but also because it acknowledges the needs of patients who follow native spiritual traditions.

The room is decorated with murals depicting a waterfall, and a bald eagle carrying sage and sweetgrass.

Any patient can ask to use the culture room, for healing ceremonies, meeting with hospital staff, or quiet reflection.

Responses to "Helena Hospital Opens "Smudging" Room For Native Americans "

  1. OhitikaWin says:

    Very appropriate! It's about time! Thanks for your attention and sensitivity to the people!

  2. Unknown says:

    Congratulations Helena Hospital and the local community for a positive incorporation of Indigenous knowledge :)

  3. Unknown says:

    I think that is fantastic. Yay!!!for our Native American brothers and sisters.

  4. Wonderful! More hospitals need this.

  5. Unknown says:

    This is awesome! :)

  6. Warren says:

    It is a good thing...

  7. Anonymous says:

    Amazing, every hospital and nursing home that has indigenous peoples there, should have one of these. Many years ago I had to take my Native patients outside during "church" service on sundays, because it was "offensive" to some, and the sage smoke "stunk". I brought sage, sweet grass, cedar, a smudge bowl and my prayer feather from home, and shared them with the people who had no other means of proper somber prayer. Perhaps now that there is awareness, and one place is available, others will soon follow suit. Blessings always, Ruth White Wolf Bear

  8. Unknown says:


  9. Anonymous says:

    I appreciate how important this is to Native Peoples. I however am extremely allergic to smudging sweet grass and sages and would have to leave (and have) the building. For this reason, we must be sensitive to everyone and this special room is a great idea

  10. Ingrid Coke says:

    I love this. Thanks Helena Hospital.

  11. Don says:

    Congratulations Helena Hospital

  12. Anonymous says:

    All peoples require respect of they're beliefs. Namaste, Da Yua

  13. Unknown says:

    Heres to more smudge rooms becoming part of a health system that supports indigenous people rights to being healthy.

  14. Anonymous can u tell me what r u allergic to in sage and natural and sweet grass maybe your asmatic if so I mean no disrespect..

  15. Julia says:

    The artist's name is Louise Ogemahgeshig Fischer; Anishinaabe.

  16. Well as long as they realise that this is meant as complimentary healthcare, not alternative healthcare, I'm all for this :)

  17. Unknown says:

    Is volunteering at a retirement home/nursing home lame?
    senior apartments

  18. Unknown says:

    This is wonderful!! Certainly much needed. Thank you Helena Hospital!!

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