IMGTemp2Return to First Medicines

The Focus of our return to first medicines program is honor tobacco as a sacred plant by using it in a sacred manner, as we received on our Original Native Teachings.

For centuries before the arrival of Europeans, Ojibwe and Dakotas people used tobacco, in the form of kinnikinnik or chanshasha in ceremonies to carry prayers to the Creator. Using Native tobacco in a sacred manner is not a health risk. Today, commercial tobacco use in the Native American community is causing high rates of cancer. The Minnesota Native American Council on Tobacco (MNACT) is a comprehensive, multi-generational tobacco prevention and control initiative to improve the health and quality of life among Native Americans in Minnesota. IPTF tobacco program uses our cultural teachings to educate about the harms of commercial tobacco use, reaffirm traditional use.

“Tradition Not Addiction”

Waybinagay Program 

Culturally specific commercial tobacco, alcohol and other drugs prevention and cessation program for native Americans youth and young adults ages 11-26

Participants of Waybinigay receive information, skills, cultural teachings, and ceremony through a 8-session curriculum. The program provides access to cultural activities through evening events, and social support for quitting. Upon finishing the eight-session curriculum, each participant receive incentives for completing the program & completing the 3 month follow-up questionnaire.

If you or someone you know is interested in participating in our next session contact Suzanne at (612) 205-5472

Current Waybinigay Activities:

Youth perspectives: using Traditional tobacco and other Sacred Medicines to deal with anxiety and mental health.

Click here to see four youth-created videos about our First Medicines and mental health on the Change to Chill website.

Proclamation: Traditional Sacred Tobacco Day

Suzanne Nash worked with Governor’s office to recognize August 11, 2023 as Traditional Sacred Tobacco Day. That date is the 45th anniversary of the American Indian Religious Freedom act, which repealed the 1883 federal prohibition on using traditional sacred tobacco. When tobacco use was banned, American Indian communities could only access commercial tobacco which resulted in an undue burden on the health of American Indians.

The use of traditional sacred tobacco helps dissuade the use of commercial tobacco products and vapes among American Indian and Alaska Native communities. That is why we are so proud to celebrate Traditional Sacred Tobacco Day this year.

Read the full proclamation.

Tobacco free Communities

The purpose of this program is to work with the city if Minneapolis and other community groups to train youth to be peer educators on tobacco policies within the city of minneapolis.

  • Youth will be trained on city of minneapolis, Tobacco free communities curriculum
  • Conduct presentations to other programs and events and agencys
  • Visite stores, where tobacco venues sell commercial tobacco products to determine if they are following state and local guidlines
  • Attend leadership training through the Youth in Congress Group

Note: If you are having trouble playing our videos, please download and install the free Quicktime Player.

See our photo album.

Download: Indigenous Peoples Task Force, Creating Healthier Policies in Indian Casinos Tribal Report (577 KB PDF)

Download: 2012 Brochure (278 KB)

Download: First Medicines Program Brochure (1.66 MB)


Visit the MNACT Toolkit for more resources and information about tobacco, cessation and policy.

For more information on an effort to advocate and educate for traditional tobacco use and commercial abuse by IPTF and Minnesota Native American Council on Tobacco (MNACT).


Download: Tobacco Brochure (501 KB PDF)

Tobacco Rap

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