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Traditional Medicine: Tobacco

ᒋᔥᑖᒫᐤ / ᒋᔥᑌᒫᐤ
chishtaamaau / chishtemaau
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Tobacco is used in hunting rituals, healing and sacred ceremonies in Eeyou/Eenou Istchee. It does not grow in the territory but was one of the foremost trading items among Eeyouch/Eenouch with other neighbouring Indigenous tribes.

Tobacco is always given first when harvesting the medicine and done using it, to acknowledge your request was well received. It is offered in the sacred fire for prayers to communicate with the spirit world. The pipe is very sacred to Eeyouch/Enouch. Tobacco is placed in it and lit; prayer is said, and it is smoked directly to the fire to follow the path of the sacred fire. (ᐧᐃᔨᐧᐄᐊᐱᐦᑎᐧᐋᐲᐦᐊᑭᓄᑦ, wiyiwiiapihtiwaapiihakinut, sending a sacred request for thanks). In the past, hunters stored tobacco in a pouch (ᓯᑭᔅᒋᐱᑖᑭᓐ, sikischipitaakin) for hunting rituals out on the land. Tobacco was used to heal—blowing smoke onto someone’s pain.

Offering Tobacco To Harvest Traditional Medicine

1. Hold tobacco in your left hand.

2. Pray to the Creator/God.

3. Tell the medicine what you want and what it will be used for (verbally or mentally).

4. Lay down the tobacco, then harvest the medicine.

5. When done using the medicine and ready to take it back out on the land, offer tobacco to give thanks.

Offering Tobacco In A Sacred Fire

1. Hold tobacco in your left hand.

2. Say a prayer.

3. Offer tobacco in the fire, or

4. Offer in a feast/ceremony with spirit plate (feast plate for ancestors)

Hand holding some tobacco

The Tamarack has important medicinal uses.Its boughs, bark (and bare branches in fall and winter) can be used to make tea

ᒥᔭᑲᓯᑲᓐ ᐄᓅ

Sage is one of our sacred medicines growing in Eeyou Istchee and other regions

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