Friday, January 15, 2010

Jefferson Ballew, Pokagon Tribe.

Tobacco, gift from the spirits.

Jefferson Ballew helps take care of the organic farm for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe for the last 13 years.  The community uses the tobacco as offerings.

It is harvested, dried, and cured.  "Tobacco for Natives is sacred," Ballew a member of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi said.

"The tobacco can't dry too fast or it becomes too brittle, and it can't dry too slow because it will develop mold," Ballew said.  "We don't use pesticides, we use cedar instead....."

Tobacco was very important to the Potawatomi because they believed that it was a gift from the spirits.  The Potawatomi would make frequent offerings as a gift to the spirits.  Before they would grow wild rice they would toss a few pinches of dried tobacco leaves on the ground and water to make sure the spirits would reward them with a good crop.

Tobacco was used to build relationships between people.  A pinch of tobacco was placed in a stone bowl of a long decorated pipe called a calumet.  Peace treaties between tribes were sealed by the passing and smoking of the sacred pipe.

To read more....:  The Morning Sun link 

To grow your own  Grow your own link

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