WHYY: Sacred Tobacco and American Indians, Tradition and Conflict

From WHYY PBS & NPR
By Sojourner Ahébée
May 14, 2021

Sean Brown grew up on an American Indian reservation in Seminole County, Oklahoma where he says tobacco was everywhere — in TV and radio ads, on billboards and storefronts.

“Everyone in my dad’s family smoked,” Brown said. “Chain-smoked a pack a day — grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, cousins, dad, all of them.”

And at 9 years old, Brown had his first cigarette. He took it from one of his mother’s packs.

“Mom didn’t even notice because she worked 16-hour days,” Brown recalls. “She wasn’t counting how many smokes there were in there. Me and my friend, we chain-smoked about 10 straight.”

But for Brown and many American Indians, there’s another side to tobacco. READ MORE

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