Keep It Sacred
When we talk about your power,
we’re referring to the kind of power
Crazy Horse had.
Crazy Horse was born near Rapid Creek
in the mid 1800s. We can’t show you
his picture because no photographs were
ever taken of him. We can’t show you his
handwriting because he never signed a
treaty or any other “official” document.
Crazy Horse wanted only to protect his
people and their way of life, and never
wanted or needed anything from any
other culture but his own. That’s why
we’re fairly sure he would never have
wanted anything to do with commercial
tobacco. Because his people have a powerful,
sacred tobacco tradition all their own.
For tribes throughout North America, the use of traditional tobacco for spiritual, ceremonial, and medicinal purposes goes back thousands of years.
Traditional tobacco among the Northern Plains tribes is not the same as commercial tobacco such as cigarettes or spit tobacco. South Dakota tribes use ċanśaśa which comes from red willow bark.
Among South Dakota tribes, tobacco is an important part of spiritual life. Tobacco helps connect the human experience by providing a means of communicating with the spirit world and the Creator. Traditional tobacco is smoked using ceremonial pipes and the smoke is not inhaled. Pipe design varies among the different tribes, with pipe stems often made of ash or sumac and pipe bowls carved from various types of stone and clay.
Ċanśaśa is used to pray to the 4 directions and the Creator. It also is used in tobacco ties as an offering to the spirits.
Together we are strong.
Together we can fight back against commercial tobacco.
You are the power.
Commercial tobacco is not our tobacco. There is nothing traditional or sacred about addiction to commercial tobacco. Yet the tobacco industry spends about $23.6 million every year in South Dakota alone to market it’s deadly products to our families and our children. They aren’t just taking our money, they are taking our lives.
Traditional Tobacco vs. Commercial Tobacco
|Not easy to get or convenient, scarce||Easy & convenient|
|Simple, humble, common, not flashy||Fast/rushed|
|Natural / Ikċe (wild, in a state of nature)||Unnatural, processed, has additives, harmful|
|No additives & absence of negative health consequences||Diseases related to product include cancer, emphysema, heart disease, breathing problems, pre-term birth, mouth cancer, SIDS|
|Used in a respectful manner||Not used with respect|
|Deliberative, thoughtful||Broad consumption by general population|
|With awareness||For pleasure|
|Used in moderation||Casual|
|Generosity||Wakaŋ siċa (Satan, a devil, the bad spirit)|
|Used in community and social content||Used individually as a personal choice|
|Sacred Willow: Keeping Tobacco Traditional|