Cultural Appropriation of White Sage in the Outdoors

On August 22, we shared a video that included burning sage as an insect deterrent when spending time outdoors. We were alerted by Monserrat Matehuala and Bam Mendiola about our irresponsible appropriation and usage of White Sage, and we quickly removed the post from our social media accounts. We apologize for perpetuating racism and causing harm to Indigenous Peoples by having made such a post. 

Monserrat Matehuala shared how White Sage is over-harvested due to its commoditization for use by non-Indigenous people. This has resulted in Indigenous communities not having access to their traditional medicines. White Sage is sacred for several native tribes and used in ceremonies. She also provided resources to educate ourselves further, and we’d like to share this information with our community:

  1. It’s Time to Rethink the ‘Trend’ of Burning Sage on Instagram
    This article breaks down how and why burning white sage is a case of cultural appropriation. It also covers the overharvesting implications. 
  1. What is going on with White Sage?
    This article reviews the ecological impact of white sage removal, as a keystone species, and touches on the cultural awareness when harvesting. 
  1. 6 Sustainable Alternatives to California White Sage Smudge Sticks
    For those who want to continue “smoke-based energy clearing,” this article provides thoughtful alternatives that don’t take away from Indigenous Peoples’ spiritual practices.