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Running Bear Medicines - Ceremonial Tobacco

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This Tobacco was lovingly harvested and prepared by First Nations community members from Running Bear Medicines Camp based in what is known as Minitonas-Bowsman, Manitoba on Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, Michif Piyii (Métis), Cree and Anishinabewaki territories.

Is there a difference between ceremonial and commercial tobacco? Yes, a big difference. Tobacco has been used traditionally by most Indigenous cultures for thousands of years. First Nations and Métis use tobacco for ceremonies, healing and giving thanks, while commercial cigarettes serve an entirely different purpose.

Tobacco plants are often used on their own or combined with other medicinal plants such as Sage (removes negative energy), Cedar (cleanses and protects) and Sweetgrass (brings the spirit of love and kindness). Out of the 4 traditional medicines, Tobacco is considered the most sacred by most Indigenous peoples as it is believed to connect us to the spirit world. It is important to note that these medicinal plants are treated with great respect. Only a few branches or leaves are taken so as to not kill the plant, and a prayer of thanks is offered to the plant for sharing its healing powers.

The biggest difference between ceremonial tobacco and commercial cigarettes is that generally, ceremonial tobacco isn’t smoked, except during special ceremonial occasions, where it is burned in a pipe but not inhaled. Ceremonial tobacco is also used for smudging in Indigenous traditions. Please note that smudging is not the same as what most Non-Indigenous folks do when burning herbs, that ritual is the Pagan/Heathen method of recaning (pronounced reek-N-ing), saining, or smoke cleansing. This involves the burning of herb bundles, loose and dried herbs, incense, etc. to cleanse homes, objects, and the like. Each ritual has its traditions, however, smudging is taught by Elders and has a very recent history of being oppressed and illegal for Indigenous folks to practice, whereas smoke cleansing can be self-taught and is ever-increasing in popularity as more folks seek alternative ways of exploring and expressing spirituality.

"We are a community of First Nations. Thank you for supporting our community members and our families. All our medicines are harvested with positive energy, prayer and the offering of tobacco. We take what we use, leave the rest in the ground to grow for the next generation. We give what we take. You are gifting for the cost of harvesting and helping our community.. you are not purchasing the medicines themselves as they belong to Mother Earth and not ourselves. We are the caretakers of it all. You are paying for our fuel, our food while harvesting, repairing our vehicles, helping with marriage ceremonies, clothing our children, etc."

**ALWAYS CONSULT A PHYSICIAN BEFORE USING HERBAL PRODUCTS FOR MEDICINAL REASONS. Which can include, smoking, using topically, or ingesting. This is especially important for anyone who is pregnant, nursing, has a preexisting condition(s), or takes medication(s).

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