Jasenn Greiner
Section B

One of the many stereotypes of the word ‘tobacco’ is American Indians. Native Americans have their own cigarette, cigar, and chewing tobacco companies as well as a long tradition with tobacco.
The tobacco plant is believed to be native to Central and South America. There are many different species of tobacco but the main plant used by American Indians was called Nicotiana rustica. Commercial tobacco in present day is Nicotiana tabacum. Research indicates that the tobacco plant began growing in the Americas around 6000 BCE, but it wasn’t until 1 BCE that Native Americans started smoking and chewing tobacco. Experts also believe that the Peruvian Aguaruna aboriginals even used it hallucinogenic enemas. Studies have shown that tobacco can produce hallucinations, trances or even death when taken in large doses, but it only has a mild effect if taken in small doses. Between 470-630 CE, The Mayas spread through the Americas, some went as far as the Mississippi Valley.

Different tribes have many different stories about the origin of the tobacco plant. But two agree on the story below:
"Ages ago, at the time when spirits considered the world yet good enough for their occasional residence, a very great and powerful spirit lay down by the side of his fire to sleep in the forest. While so lying, his arch-enemy came that way, and thought it would be a good chance for mischief; so, gently approaching the sleeper, he rolled him over toward the fire, till his head rested among the glowing embers, and his hair was set ablaze. The roaring of the fire in his ears roused the good spirit, and, leaping to his feet, he rushed in a fright through the forest, and as he did so the wind caught his singed hair as it flew off, and, carrying it away, sowed it broadcast over the earth, into which it sank and took root, and grew up tobacco." () American Indians used tobacco in medicine, spiritual ceremonies and even when making peace with other tribes. The most common way to ingest tobacco was by smoking it. The tool most commonly used was a pipe. Pipes could be made from many things such as bones, rocks, clay, wood, etc. Tobacco was also chewed, rolled into a cigar like shape, and eaten. Upon the arrival of the Europeans, smoking was only found in the Americas. The Europeans were fascinated by the act of smoking.

Tobacco was also used in spiritual ceremonies, rituals, and social events. In ceremonies and rituals, tobacco could be used as an offering to honor the Creator and spirits. It was also used as an offering during daily prayer, at harvest, or to give honor to something. Tobacco was smoked ceremonially in groups or individually. Individuals would smoke to aid in their personal spiritual quest or as a recreational activity. It was believed that exhaled tobacco smoke could carry one's thoughts and prayers to heaven.

With the cultural takeover of the American Indians, tobacco was exploited and used to make a profit. Some American Indians got into this business and have their own brand of cigarettes and chewing tobacco. In a recent study, 40 American Indian owned websites sold their tobacco products online, much of it at cheaper rates than can be found in local stores. Other companies capitalize on the Indian stereotype and tobacco by putting an Indian on the label, or even having a name such as 'Redman'. American Indians aren't just selling the tobacco, they are currently one of the biggest user demographics. Tobacco use today is extremely high on Indian reservations. Research shows that smoking rates are highest in the Northern Plains area and that 48% of Indian men and 40% of Indian women are cigarette smokers. In the population as a whole, 32.4% of all American Indians smoke ( The American Indian perception of tobacco may be why the usage rates of today's tobacco is so high. Medical research shows that tobacco use increases many health risks. Many programs have started to try to reduce tobacco use in Indian populations as well as in the general population.

Tobacco and American Indians have a long history together. It is a sacred plant and is used in many different activities including spiritual rituals and medicine. Many things associated with tobacco is also sacred including the activities it is used it and the tools used to ingest it. American Indian's heritage with tobacco may be hurting them today with increased smoking among the American Indian community. Originally, tobacco was a cherished and sacred plant that was very important and used in many activities.


"AICTP: American Indian Community Tobacco Project: University of Minnesota : School of Public Health." School of Public Health : University of Minnesota. AICTP. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <http://www.sph.umn.edu/epi/aictp/index.asp>
The American Indian Community Tobacco Project is a project trying to fight the misuse of tobacco. Briefly talks about the health concerns of tobacco and describes the traditional and spiritual uses of tobacco.

"American Indians and Tobacco." TASK. TASK, 23 Mar. 2003. Web. <http://www.kstask.org/pdf/factsheets/American%20and%20Tobacco.pdf>.
Overview of basic statistics about tobacco usage and health concerns. Also has trends and goes into specifics of pipes, cigarettes, etc.

"American Indians and Tobacco | Tobacco Facts." Tobacco Facts. Cigarettes Smoking Effects. Tobacco News. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <http://www.tobacco-facts.net/2010/11/american-indians-and-tobacco>.
This website talks about some of the different species of tobacco along with how it was grown and farmed. It also talks about how the pipe was used and evolved for smoking tobacco.

"American Indians and Tobacco | Tobacco Facts." Tobacco Facts. Cigarettes Smoking Effects. Tobacco News. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <http://www.tobacco-facts.net/2010/11/american-indians-and-tobacco>.
Briefly describes the history of American Indians and tobacco. Goes into the origin of tobacco and how early American Indian's used it in their spiritual ceremonies.

"American Indians and Tobacco." Tobaccofreeu.org. Tobaccofreeu. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <http://www.tobaccofreeu.org/your_state/documents/NAFactsheet.pdf>.
This website talks about the history, the uses and prevalence of tobacco among American Indians.

"American Indian Internet Cigarette Sales: Another Avenue for Selling Tobacco Products." APHA, Feb. 2004. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1448239/>.
Research studies on American Indian owned internet cigarette sales. Discusses the effects of buying online, prices, and underage sale.

Borio, Gene. "THE TOBACCO TIMELINE." Tobacco.org : Welcome. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <http://www.tobacco.org/History/Tobacco_History.html>.
This website provides a timeline from when tobacco was first thought to be discovered until present day. It gives a brief summary of each time period, the uses of tobacco in that era, and eventually the fight against tobacco.

Colette Vidal. "HISTORICAL BACKGROUND ON TOBACCO." Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <http://www.niichro.com/Tobacco/Tobac1.html>.
Describes the history of the tobacco plant and its use by American Indians as well as the pipe. It also mentions the symbolism behind tobacco and the pipe and the appropriation of tobacco by European settlers.

"Daily Kos: Indians 101: American Indians and Tobacco." Daily Kos :: State of the Nation. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/11/04/917421/-Indians-101:-American-Indians-and-Tobacco->.
Talks about the health concerns of tobacco and the history of the plant. Goes into describing the different types of pipes American Indians used and the spiritual uses of tobacco.

"History of Tobacco." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_tobacco>.
This website is the wikipedia on the history of tobacco. It discusses the history of tobacco in the Americas as well as its history globally.

"History of Tobacco." Health & Literacy Special Collection. Web. 15 Apr. 2011. <http://healthliteracy.worlded.org/docs/tobacco/Unit1/2history_of.html>.
This article is about the history of tobacco. It is fairly brief but gives a good timeline from beginning to end.

"Native Americans and Tobacco." Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <http://www.wellnessproposals.com/tobacco/handouts/0251.pdf>.
This article stats statistics about the use of tobacco among American Indians. It also has statistics on the youth smoking and the health effects.

"Native Americans & Tobacco - Smoking Health Effects, Quitting & Industry Marketing - Partnership For A Tobacco-Free Maine." Prevention for Parents – Protecting Kids from Secondhand Smoke, Smoking & Tobacco Marketing – Partnership for a Tobacco-free Maine. Web. 15 Apr. 2011. <http://www.tobaccofreemaine.org/channels/special_populations/native_americans.php>.
This article is about the health effects of tobacco, along with a short history and how to prevent misuse.

"Native Americans Healing." Native Americans- Spirit Talk Gathering. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <http://www.spiritalk.net/native-americans-nahealin.html>.
Describes the sacred pipe and briefly describes many ceremonies done by the American Indians.

"Native American Sacred Uses of Tobacco, Sweetgrass, Cedar and Sage." Red Road Collective Home Truth Page. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <http://redroadcollective.bravehost.com/SacredTobacco.html>.
This article is about the 4 sacred plants: tobacco, cedar, sage and sweetgrass. It touches on the uses of each and how their abuse.

"Native American Tobacco Education Fact Sheet: Ceremonial Use." Natamcancer.org. Web. 15 Apr. 2011. <http://natamcancer.org/nnacc_dwnlds/SHEETS/02-18-07_Tob-ceremony_04-12-09.pdf>.
This is a great fact sheet talking about the ceremonial and nonceremonial use on tobacco among American Indians. The fact mentions habitual use and the accepted used of commercial tobacco today.

"Sacred Origin of Tobacco." Autoredirect to Main Site. 31 Jan. 1998. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <http://academic.udayton.edu/health/syllabi/tobacco/native03.htm>.
Talks about how the American Indian's believed the tobacco plant was created the sacred origin of tobacco and the pipe.

"The Sacred Use of Tobacco." Autoredirect to Main Site. 31 Jan. 1998. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <http://academic.udayton.edu/health/syllabi/tobacco/native04.htm>.
Talks about the sacred uses of tobacco, history in early America, and the abuse of it today.

"Tobacco." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobacco>.
This is the wikipedia for tobacco. It talks about the different species of the plant and also the history and popularization of tobacco.

"Tobacco Smoking." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 15 Apr. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobacco_smoking>.
This is the wikipedia for tobacco smoking. It describes the history of smoking tobacco and the popularization of the smoking the drug. It talks about many of the different ways tobacco can be smoked and the health effects caused by tobacco.