Blog

Four Sacred Medicines – Tobacco

by Katarina Ziervogel

Katarina Ziervogel is a Toronto-based writer who was an intern in Taken’s writing department last season, and is now studying at Ryerson University. Katarina was an Orange Daisy Project (orangedaisyproject.com) documentary subject and keynote speaker, and a recent nominee for the YM-YWCA Women of Distinction Awards. Follow her journey as a deaf, Indigenous female filmmaker from Winnipeg living her dreams in Toronto on Twitter @katarinaun Each week, Katarina will share a new blog with Taken’s audience that relates to Canada’s MMIWG2S. This week is part one in a four part series on sacred medicines.

On the Taken website there is an e-ceremony and e-smudge available to honour the families and of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous women with four Sacred Medicines (Tobacco, Sage, Cedar, Sweetgrass) to choose from. Four Sacred Medicines come from one of the First Nations’ tribe – Anishinaabe. But the sacred medicines are used widely for all Indigenous people within their prayers, rituals, and healing circles within the community and our people. Many cultures and religions use plant medicines for several reasons. In Anishinaabe and for all Indigenous people, this is best known as smudging. Each of four Sacred Medicines has its own healing for specific areas for a human being or the environment.

Ceremonial Tobacco is the first and East of all four Sacred Medicines to begin with. It was given to the people as a way to connect with the spiritual world, and it is an offering for everything. For instance, prayers, visits on sacred grounds, and going to the Elders for their counselling. Before using Sage, Cedar or Sweetgrass, Tobacco has to be used first as an offering beforehand. Tobacco was the first plant given by the Creator to the Anishinaabe people. Due to its placement in Medicine Wheel, it means the Creator is always willing to listen hence being the first one to be offered.