Written by The Herald-News
The Northeast Montana Tobacco Prevention Coalition has joined forces with the Fort Peck Tribes Language and Culture Department, Tribal Health/Tobacco Prevention and the Boys and Girls Club.
One of the goals of the recently revitalized coalition is to increase the knowledge of all people living on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and in Daniels and Roosevelt counties on the differences between tobacco and the plants and herbs that are utilized by the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux people for spiritual use.
Chashasha (Assiniboine sp.) and Cansasa (Sioux sp.) is what the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux people call the dried plant, root and herb mixture used in their spiritual ceremonies. The two words are pronounced similarly in both languages. Tobacco is not traditionally used for spiritual purposes by these two nations.
The plants, roots and herbs commonly used in Chashasha/Cansasa by these two tribes grow naturally in this area and are found all around us. Commonly used items are: bark fiber from Red Willow, Juneberry and Chokecherry trees, roots and other naturally occurring herbs.
Big Tobacco companies like to misrepresent their products (cigarettes, rolling tobacco, etc.) as acceptable for traditional use; as if it were the same thing as Chashasha/Cansasa. But it is not. Cigarette smoking and tobacco use are not traditional, don’t let Big Tobacco lie to you.
For more information, contact the tobacco prevention coalition staff: in Daniels County, Mary Nyhus at 783-5366; in Roosevelt County, Bev Azure at 653-6212; Fort Peck Tribal Tobacco Prevention, Brett Mudgett at 768-7919; Fort Peck Tribes Language and Culture Department, Ramey Growing Thunder at 768-3520; or the Fort Peck Tribes Boys and Girls Club, Winona Runsabove-Meyers, at 768-8463.