Sacred Tobacco is one of the four sacred medicines of the Anishinaabe People.
Tobacco was the first of the four medicines to be gifted to the Anishinaabe people by the creator. It is offered to human beings, spiritual beings, animal and natural beings as a symbolic representation of respect, gratitude and to ask for something. It is typically wrapped in cotton cloth. This offering is commonly done in one of three ways: by placing in the ground, on water or into a sacred fire with prayers connected to the purpose of the action desired.
When praying to the creator, s/he can hear you when tobacco is held in the left hand because that is the hand that sits closest to the heart. Holding the tobacco close to the heart helps us to speak and think kind thoughts during our prayer. We then pass the tobacco to our right hand and release it under a tree, into a sacred fire or into water. (source)
During the concluding ceremony for the Great Lakes Water Walk on September 24th, each participant will be given a Tobacco Tie. Some of the tobacco can be placed in the water as part of the individual’s prayers. The ties themselves are given as tokens of respect for each participant to keep as a reminder to continue holding a relationship of respect, love and gratitude to and for water after the event.
Our dedicated team of volunteers has been working diligently to ensure we reach our goal of having 2,000 Tobacco Ties ready for the concluding ceremony of the Great Lakes Water Walk on Sunday, September 24th in Toronto. We have been cleaning, cutting and tying the tobaccos to prepare them for you and the prayers you will be sending to the Water.
We have also received many generous donations of tobacco from the community, such as the donation pictured below from The Toronto Heschel School! They grow three types of tobacco: Hopi, White and Traditional and they harvest and share widely.
If you are bringing your own tobacco to use during the Great Lakes Water Walk ceremony, please only bring organic or traditional tobacco. The Grandmothers have requested that no commercial tobacco be used in ceremony.
Gchi-Miigwech to all who are giving their time and resources to this special Water Walk in Toronto. See you there!