These two above pictures are from an advertisement from a newspaper.
It advertises that you should not by “Contraband Cigarettes” because it will fuel other activities, like trafficking of drugs. Looking at the advertisement and the cigarettes in the picture, it looks like to me a big, giant bag of Indian Smokes. The issue with that is non-First Nations members are going to the First Nations and buying the smokes. I know, there should be some sort of type of filtering in place. There usually is: show your status card and you can buy the smokes. Doesn’t always happen like that.
Read this Globe and Mail article titled Illegal Smokes Hit All-Time High.
The main source for illegal smokes: Natives.
The suggestion: Outlaw all the materials that it takes to make illegal smokes (well, I am sure with some exception).
However, as an Aboriginal, tobacco is widely used at traditional ceremonies. Sometimes the attendance at these ceremonies is in the 100s. I don’t know the extent of this suggestion or if any bills were put in place to help counter the sales of contraband cigarettes. But suggestions like the one above does not take into account that Aboriginal culture still uses tobacco. No, there is no such thing as a peace pipe (That was purely made up for Hollywood Movies. Check out my post titled Documentary: Reel Injun for other facts about Aboriginals and Hollywood). No we don’t just sit around a fire and smoke tobacco all day. The tobacco in the Aboriginal culture is very sacred and is used in various settings. Yes, it can be smoked, but it is not always smoked. Sometimes it is just passed on from one person to another as a form of gratitude.
Tobacco in the Aboriginal culture is very sacred.
I think when people begin to associate “Indian Smokes” with Aboriginals, it takes away from this sacredness. But don’t let the misconceptions fool you. We still use it for ceremonial purposes. Not every Aboriginal smokes tobacco either. I am Aboriginal, and I use tobacco but do not smoke it.
Anyways back to the advertisements, I am not impressed. I am not impressed because in the advertisement it says:
“Do Not Buy Contraband Cigarettes….it fuels criminal activity, such as the trafficking of drugs…”
Thanks Canadian Government, once again. I thought you were trying to improve your relationships with Aboriginals. This ad is a step backwards because it associates contraband smokes, the abundant of them found on First Nations (as stated in the Globe and Mail article) or it associates the Indian Smokes with “drug trafficking.”
What does that mean for Aboriginals: it makes the assumption that drug trafficking happens in great numbers on First Nations (Because isn’t it after all the contraband smokes that come from First Nations. As a logical person, one might begin to think: Aboriginals must also be fueling the criminal activity, such as that as drug trafficking).
My suggestion to the problem: Why not make all cigarettes illegal, and not just the ones made mostly on Canadian First Nations?
Thank you Canadian Government. You’ve done a lovely job, yet again…
Update: This advertisement was found in the UWO Gazette on page 4. Their Style Issue. Volume 104, Issue 87. Don’t worry Gazette, I get it… You have to cover costs through advertisements. Thanks for making this school newspaper free for all readers at UWO.