About Traditional Tobacco


Elders teach that tobacco was one of the four sacred medicines (Sacred Tobacco, Cedar, Sage and Sweetgrass) given to many Aboriginal Nations. When used properly, Sacred Tobacco can be used to communicate with the Spirit World and the Creator.

In its original form, tobacco had both honor and purpose. The chemical additives found in commercial tobacco take away from tobacco's original purpose in Aboriginal ceremonies. Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco have no connection to Aboriginal spirituality.

Traditional tobacco is intended to be used in small amounts for prayers and ceremonies.

Some traditional methods of using Sacred Tobacco:

  1. The smoke from tobacco burned on sacred fires or in sacred pipes rises to the sky, carrying prayers to the spirit world.
  2. Sacred Tobacco can be used as a daily offering to say prayers and give thanks for all the gifts the Creator has given to us. We lay Sacred Tobacco on to the Earth, our mother, for providing all the things that help sustain our physical beings.
  3. Offering Tobacco to water is an acknowledgment of the lifeblood that sustains us all as well. Without water, we would cease to exist.
  4. Historically, many Aboriginal people used Sacred Tobacco in combination with other plants/herbs to treat some illnesses.
  5. Offering Sacred Tobacco is a way of giving thanks in advance of a request. Whenever there is a request for guidance, advice, ceremonies or taking from the animal or spirit world, Sacred Tobacco is always offered first.
Aboriginal Tobacco Program  |  Prevention and Cancer Control 505 University Avenue, Suite 1800, Toronto, Ontario    M5G 1X3

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