In 2016, ClearWay Minnesota collaborated with Twin Cities PBS (TPT) on Reclaiming Sacred Tobacco, a 30-minute documentary on the tobacco practices of Anishinaabe and Dakota people in Minnesota.
Commercial tobacco has corrupted sacred tobacco
- Sacred tobacco: Traditional tobacco is tobacco and/or other plant mixtures grown or harvested and used by American Indians and Alaska Natives for ceremonial or medicinal purposes (Keep It Sacred).
- Commercial tobacco: Commercial tobacco is mass-produced and sold for profit. It contains thousands of chemicals and produces over 7,000 chemical compounds when burned, many of which are carcinogenic, cause heart and other diseases, and premature death. Nicotine is the primary addictive substance contained in commercial tobacco (Keep It Sacred).
American Indian Nations have used sacred tobacco for generations. Sacred tobacco is much different from commercial tobacco in how it is produced, how it is used, and what it is used for. The tobacco industry has exploited this sacred product used for religious, medicinal, and ceremonial purposes and profits off the addiction that has resulted from the commercialization of tobacco. The industry’s abuse of this plant and direct targeted marketing have caused epidemic levels of use in Minnesota’s tribal communities. The cigarette smoking rate for American Indians is at an astounding 59 percent. See the Public Health Law Center’s resource on Addressing Tobacco Industry Targeting of Tribes (2011).
The Lethal Lure campaign honors the traditional use of sacred tobacco by American Indian people, while working to reduce commercial tobacco use to prevent death and disease.
Keep tobacco sacred and quit commercial tobacco your way
Please call the American Indian Quitline at 1-833-9AI-QUIT (1-833-924-7848). If you live in Minnesota, you can get the following free help to quit commercial tobacco:
- A dedicated team of American Indian coaches who understand your culture and respect your traditions.
- Up to 10 calls with the coaches, allowing you to get to know them.
- Up to 12 weeks of free lozenges, gum or patches to help you quit the addiction.
- Other free, helpful tools like text messages and emails to encourage you along the way.