Alberni School District No 70 wins Supreme Court case on smudging ceremony

January 15, 2020

The Supreme Court of British Columbia has ruled in favor of the Alberni School District No 70, supported by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council who served as intervenors, on the recent Servatius v. Alberni School District No. 70 court case. Parent Candace Servatius argued that the religious freedoms of her children were infringed up on when they participated in smudging and hoop dance ceremonies, adding that the school district should be prohibited from holding similar events in the future. However, the Court concluded that Servatius could not establish that the demonstrations of Nuu-chah-nulth culture and spirituality at a school constituted an infringement of religious freedoms. “UBCIC celebrates the victory of the School District and the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council who were defending the advancement of knowledge and awareness of Nuu-chah-nulth culture, history, and language,” stated Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “As approximately one-third of the students in the Alberni School District are Indigenous, it is imperative that these students receive culturally relevant teaching that enriches and enhances their sense of belonging.” NationTalk | Vancouver Sun (BC)