Friday, January 9, 2009

Week 2 - The Elders Speak: Tobacco

asemaa - tobacco

Please read Culture and Traditions by Millie Benjamin.  She writes, "Tobacco is a gift from the Great Spirit and our way to communicate with that spirit. The smoke from the tobacco carries our prayers to the Great Spirit" and "Anytime you ask Elders or anyone for advice, you must always offer tobacco first."

Anishinaabe people pray with tobacco.  Anytime something is taken from nature, you must put out some tobacco.  Anytime you ask something from an elder, you should offer some tobacco.

Spiritual healer Jimmy Jackson said, "I've been trying to teach them, to learn their language, get an Indian name, use your tobacco, pray with it.  That's why it was given to us, you know, to use it that way.  That's my word for the people." 

Spiritual healer Ron Geyshick wrote, "Never put out tobacco without a prayer, as tobacco is our most sacred way of communicating with the spirits."

Anton Treuer wrote, "Recently Indians have forgotten to use their tobacco. It is critically important for Indians to use their tobacco. We should really do this all the time."

We hope that these quotes/stories/lessons will helped teach you the importance of using asemaa.