Dear White and Non-Native People: Stop Burning Our Sage

Ancestral rituals are being appropriated by rich kids, yoga teachers, hippies, influencers, and “woke” yet racist millennials

Your NativeFriend
ZORA
Published in
5 min readJan 28, 2023

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Photo by Brittany Colette from Unsplash

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“The wellness craze fueled by influencers, celebrities, and woke people has sparked an illegal market for white sage. And to our native communities, it comes at a cost.” How Influencers are Killing a Sacred Tradition by AJ-

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Acjachemen tribes, Mutsun tribes, and other indigenous groups grew up burning sage since they were little kids, in their indigenous communities. Burning sage is an ancestral tradition passed on from one generation to another, practiced for thousands of years.

White sage is a shrub in the mint family and is endemic to Southern California and The Baja Peninsula, which means that it only grows naturally in these areas.

White sage has been a sacred plant for Native people who have lived for centuries in the areas known today as the U.S. and Mexico. It has been used as a source of food, ancestral medicine, and smudging to give an offering to Pachamama (Mother Earth) and a way to connect with our ancestors.

When making an offering with white sage or any other kind of plant that has been used by indigenous communities for centuries, there is a list of things that people should do before burning it, in order to preserve indigenous culture and the medicinal value that sage provides.

It’s not just burning a little stick of white sage while you record a video of yourself feeling super “connected to Mother Earth.” It doesn’t work like that and it’s not that simple.

Social media and the wellness craze are causing white sage poaching.

Celebrities have also jumped on the bandwagon, making burning sage even more “trendy.” For example, the Kardashians burned sage in several episodes of Keeping up With The Kardashians. And singer Gavin Haley has also…

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Your NativeFriend
ZORA
Writer for

Native American writer, cultural and social critic, painter and language learner. Pacacua Nation .......... https://ko-fi.com/indiadorada