Native Tobbaco Garden to Grow the Ingredents to Traditional Tobacco for Native American Youth

In Native Americans, U.S History on June 20, 2009 by Editor Z

Tobacco to most is an instrument of enjoyment, often a bad habit in terms of health. However in Native American culture tobacco isn’t only consumed and smoked, ingested into the body. Tobacco also has a number of sacred uses including prayer and a show of respect.

Tobacco is one of the plants of the four Manido (the spirits of the four directions), as it represents the eastern direction. Some say that tobacco is the plant that with its roots.

One Indian Health Center in Montana has broken ground on a garden to harvest the ingredients of traditional tobacco.

As Native Americans over the years have come to represent such a small slice of the population (PDF) numerically and their culture and traditions have been marginalized, defiled, and cast aside by many; it is good to see some keeping alive the traditions and enriching the minds not only of the Natives but of all.

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) – Work has begun on a garden to grow the ingredients for traditional tobacco in an effort to reduce the number of American Indian youths who use commercial tobacco.

Ground was broken Monday at the Missoula Indian Center, an organization that offers health care and a chemical dependency program for Indians.

Dana Kingfisher, who works at the center, says the garden will help educate youth about the sacred role of traditional tobacco.

Traditional plants such as red willow, kinnikinnick, bearberry, sweetgrass and sage will be grown in the garden, along with some vegetables.

Native Yards, a landscaping business, is providing labor, materials and guidance for the garden. Kingfisher says the Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program, a state organization, is providing about $4,000 for the project.

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