Yellow Bird: Smudging room at North Dakota hospital
"[C]oming back by way of Bismarck, I found something even more surprising, something that said North Dakotans are a caring and sensitive people. It was a smudging room at St. Alexius Medical Center.

Of all of the American Indian ceremonies, one of the most serious deals with illness, dying and death — and that smudging room makes such ceremonies possible in the hospital.

I saw the room when I went to visit my sister, Kaye. She’d had a knee replaced at St. Alexius, a painful but relatively common surgery. She was — as the doctors had told her she would be — in pain after the surgery.

On the first floor as you enter the hospital, there is a large solarium with a tree canopy and plenty of green plants. The room is filled with comfortable chairs; it’s a nice place to come and enjoy solitude.

On the walls are some pictures of famous American Indians. In a tall glass case is a full-length war bonnet — in excellent condition and beautiful. A plaque says the bonnet was donated by a nun.

And off of that big room is a “meditation room,” also called the “smudging room” by locals and American Indians. The room is for smudging and other ceremonies for Indian people at the hospital, my sister said."

Get the Story:
COLUMNIST DORREEN YELLOW BIRD: Hospital's 'smudging room' shows sensitivity (The Grand Forks Herald 7/)

More Dorreen Yellow Bird:
Yellow Bird: Adventures that stir the spirit (6/18)
Yellow Bird: Exhibit focuses on Arikara Scouts (6/16)
Yellow Bird: My heart belongs to the Great Plains (6/11)
Yellow Bird: White buffalo signals hope and peace (6/9)
Yellow Bird: Sen. Barack Obama for president (6/4)
Yellow Bird: There's good and bad in oil development (6/2)
Yellow Bird: Remembering all relatives a big chore (5/28)
Yellow Bird: Oil on the Fort Berthold Reservation (5/26)
Yellow Bird: Recycle and live lightly on the Earth (5/12)
Yellow Bird: Leaps in America's multiracial society (5/7)
Yellow Bird: Diversity in the United States (5/5)
Yellow Bird: Pollution a threat to North Dakota (4/30)
Yellow Bird: Program graduates Indian nurses at UND (4/21)
Yellow Bird: Recovering from brain aneurysm surgery (4/17)
Yellow Bird: A fight for oil on the reservation (03/31)
Yellow Bird: Excitement in North Dakota's weather (3/26)
Yellow Bird: Thoughts on Sen. Obama and race (3/24)
Yellow Bird: Pray for rain in western North Dakota (3/19)
Yellow Bird: Grandchildren are the greatest gift (3/17)
Yellow Bird: UND powwow survives budget woes (3/10)
Yellow Bird: Stereotypes and Hillary Clinton (3/5)
Yellow Bird: Celebrating 125 years of UND history (3/3)
Yellow Bird: High hopes for Indian health bill (2/28)
Yellow Bird: More Plains foods that are good for you (2/25)
Yellow Bird: Chokecherries, the wonder fruit (2/20)
Yellow Bird: Sadness on a trip to Standing Rock (2/18)
Yellow Bird: It's time for a change in music (2/11)
Yellow Bird: 'Sioux' drives Indian students away (2/7)
Yellow Bird: Another cold January in North Dakota (1/30)
Yellow Bird: Tribal casinos should be alcohol free (1/28)
Yellow Bird: Race and gender in presidential race (1/23)
Yellow Bird: Barack Obama is my choice for 2008 (1/16)
Yellow Bird: Artman right on off-reservation gaming (1/9)
Yellow Bird: Barack Obama's big win in Iowa (1/7)