Tobacco Garden Planned in Montana
Condensed by Native Village
The Missoula Indian Center is creating a garden to grow
ingredients used in
traditional Native American tobacco. The plants will promote native culture and
help prevent commercial
tobacco use among Montana's American Indian youth. 39% of those youth smoke
Dana Kingfisher, who works at the center, says the garden will help educate
youth about the sacred role of traditional tobacco.
"It's like a religion to our people," Kingfisher said.
Traditional plants such as red willow, kinnikinnick, bearberry, sweetgrass and
sage will be grown in the garden, along with some vegetables.
When American Indians use traditional tobacco, they ask Creator to watch
over them, and when they offer tobacco as a gift to Mother Earth, they are
asking for nourishment for their bodies, Kingfisher said.
Traditional tobacco is not inhaled, she added.
Native Yards, a landscaping business, is providing labor, materials and guidance
for the garden. The Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program is also providing
about $4,000 for the project.
photo: KURT WILSON/Missoulian
Native Village News
September 2009Native Village Home Page
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