Why is tobacco important to First Nations people?

Why is tobacco important to First Nations people?

Tobacco is one of the sacred gifts the Creator gave to the First Nations people. Tobacco has been used traditionally in ceremonies, rituals and prayer for thousands of years for its powerful spiritual meaning. Tobacco has a variety of medicinal purposes. Tobacco establishes a direct communication link between a person and the spiritual world. The most powerful way of communicating with the spirits is to smoke tobacco in a Sacred Pipe. Even before the tobacco is put into the pipe the prayers have already begun. When used in a Sacred Pipe ceremony, the smoke from the tobacco carries the prayers to the Creator and it is offered to the Creator and the four directions. This creates an avenue of dialogue between the human world and the spirit world. In contemporary times, tobacco abuse is common among all people, this includes snuff that is ingested. Prior to the European tobacco distribution, First Nations people had their own tobacco that was used in ceremony. This tobacco was a mixture of Red Willow Bark and other plants that are referred to as Kinnikinnick. Tobacco is also an important part of medicine bundles that are used for protection, in keeping one safe.

(Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre)

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