What did Indians smoke

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trouttimes

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Nov 26, 2018
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Another post talking about possibly running out of tabacco got me thinking, what did the American Indians smoke? Did they grow tabacco in the west or Southwest before the Europeans?

 

chasingembers

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Nov 12, 2014
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They were growing tobacco before there were Europeans.
http://westerndigs.org/ice-age-hunting-camp-replete-with-bird-bones-and-tobacco-found-in-utah-desert/

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
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Europeans were introduced to tobacco by the tribal nations, but I assume, only certain nations, since they were spread across the country with widely different cultures and languages. Some Europeans found frequent recreational tobacco use with some of the Plains Indians, like the Blackfoot, in addition to ceremonial use. But I think many tribes smoked a mixture of herbs. I wonder if the nations have ever gotten into pipe making, other than souvenir peace pipes type items (other than pipes done for their own use in the traditional way). You'd think they might gain some benefit from pipe smoking since they invented it, but I don't think they'd like any advice from me whatever.

 

jpmcwjr

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May 12, 2015
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Monterey Peninsula
They were growing tobacco before there were Europeans.
http://westerndigs.org/ice-age-hunting-camp-replete-with-bird-bones-and-tobacco-found-in-utah-desert/
Interesting that the chief archeologist was named Duke, the first name in American tobacco business.
I thought tobacco was indigenous to the Carolinas/Virginias. If so, finding seeds thousands of miles away says cool things about mobility and trade over 10,000 years ago.

 

5star

Senior Member
Nov 17, 2017
406
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Fascinating subject that I’ve just recently begun to explore. All I’d read placed tobacco usage going back just a few thousand years with Nicotiana Rustica in Peru and Ecuador. The article above blows that timeline completely out of the water. - - I also read that various native peoples in the Americas made pipes out of clay, stone, and wood.

 

donjgiles

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Apr 14, 2018
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I work in the museum world and several years ago I had the pleasure of meeting with the Tuscarora tribe as they recreated their freedom walk from North Carolina to Washington DC. Part of what we do are install historical markers at significant sites across Pennsylvania. One of these markers celebrated their journey and some of our staff met the tribe at that marker. At that meeting we were honored to take part in their ceremony which involved sharing a pipe in the sacred circle. The experience is one I will never forget and I feel very blessed to have been included. One question I asked was about their tobacco. They were very proud to tell me they grow their own crops using heirloom seeds. The tobacco was strong and very earthy, not sweet or flavored in any way. If I had to guess, I would say it was blend of burley and virginia tobaccos. The pipe was later gifted to our museum.

 

retrogrouch

Member
Jul 16, 2017
132
11
There is a tobacco varietal called, "Isleta Pueblo Rustica." Here in New Mexico we have the Isleta Pueblo. I do not know how old the varietal is but the names suggest a connection. A quick search showed the following.
https://www.victoryseeds.com/nicotiana_isleta-pueblo.html

 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
15,925
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The article above blows that timeline completely out of the water.
I would bet it goes back much further.
https://www.google.com&s/www.independent.co.uk/news/science/north-america-first-humans-colonist-evidence-scientists-alaska-genetics-a8140231.html%3famp

 

pipestud

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Dec 6, 2012
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Robinson, TX.
I work in the museum world and several years ago I had the pleasure of meeting with the Tuscarora tribe as they recreated their freedom walk from North Carolina to Washington DC. Part of what we do are install historical markers at significant sites across Pennsylvania. One of these markers celebrated their journey and some of our staff met the tribe at that marker. At that meeting we were honored to take part in their ceremony which involved sharing a pipe in the sacred circle. The experience is one I will never forget and I feel very blessed to have been included. One question I asked was about their tobacco. They were very proud to tell me they grow their own crops using heirloom seeds. The tobacco was strong and very earthy, not sweet or flavored in any way. If I had to guess, I would say it was blend of burley and virginia tobaccos. The pipe was later gifted to our museum.-donjgiles
That is one cool story. I wish I could have been a part of that. Thanks for sharing!

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,113
459
Funny... I grow tobaccos, along with some Rustica and a few other heirloom varieties. I have quite a few Native American jewelers in my list of Facebook friends, because of my job. One day, I saw one asking if anyone knew of anyone who grew Native varietals of tobaccos. I responded, and have been supplying at least three tribal gatherings with tobacco for a few years now. But, when they talk about it in their groups they say, "this tobacco was grown by Native Americans using ancient seed and ancient techniques..." I have to laugh, knowing my redheaded white ass ain't nothing close to Native American. Like anything, don't rely on "anyone's" marketing for ancient wisdom or history... especially our own.

 

jaytex969

Preferred Member
Jun 6, 2017
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this tobacco was grown by Native Americans using ancient seed and ancient techniques
It's a typo. They meant to say "this tobacco was grown by ancient Americans using native seed and native techniques"
:lol:


 

jitterbugdude

Preferred Member
Mar 25, 2014
994
2
what did the American Indians smoke
The North Americans in the Eastern and southern parts smoked Rustica. The Plains and somewhat to the Northwest smoked a different strain which I can't recall(there's 2 actually). The South Americans smoked a combination of Rustica and what we now know as Burleys and Virginia (emanating from the Orinoco Valley area).

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,113
459
The South Americans smoked a combination of Rustica and what we now know as Burleys and Virginia (emanating from the Orinoco Valley area).
But, just to add a tad of clarification to what Jitter says, There were no Virginias before the 1850's. This was all discovered in a fluke. He means to say that the originating varietal called Orinoco. He said it all correctly, I just wanted to reiterate for clarification. Native Americans were not smoking Virginias.
The development of Virginias (or bright leaf) and flue curing process has a very interesting history.

 

5star

Senior Member
Nov 17, 2017
406
1
Fascinating subject !
As pipe smokers, all of us have likely run into some negativity from non-smokers when they found out we smoke tobacco. It may have only manifest in a raised eyebrow or disapproving frown. WE know pipesmoking isn’t the same as cigarette smoking, even if they don’t.
Getting back to the thread topic - - what impact did tobacco smoking have on the health of native peoples ? Not those people today who are smoking modern commercial cigarettes, but the native populations from previous centuries who grew & smoked their own tobacco. I wonder if anyone has conducted a study of this