Traditional and non-traditional tobacco use among First Nations Persons living on reserve in Canada: distinctions, emotions, and visions of best-case future realities
Stevenson, Samuel Edward
Master of Public Health
SubjectTobacco among First Nations Peoples in North America
Traditional tobacco use vs non-traditional tobacco use
Tobacco use realities in First Nations communities in Canada
Tobacco cessation drug therapy
Tobacco control initiatives by First Nations communities
Future of tobacco in First Nations communities in Canada
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This thesis presents a qualitative study on traditional and non-traditional tobacco use in Fort William First Nation, a First Nation community adjacent to the City of Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada. This study inquired about whether a concept of traditional and non-traditional tobacco use exists among members Fort William First Nation; how members distinguish between traditional and non-traditional uses of tobacco; tobacco’s roles in the community; emotions that members experience in relation to tobacco; and members’ visions of best-case, future realities of tobacco use in their community. Through five focus group discussions with youth, young caregivers, members of a 55+ Group, health service providers, and persons in senior leadership positions (N = 19), this study found that a concept of traditional and non-traditional tobacco use exists among members of Fort William First Nation. It appears that one distinction between traditional and non-traditional tobacco use is that traditional use has a cultural purpose whereas non-traditional use does not have a cultural purpose. Tobacco plays many cultural, health, and economic roles in Fort William First Nation; members experience a variety of emotions in relation to tobacco; and the predominant best-case, future reality of tobacco use envisioned for the community was no cigarette smoking and tobacco being used only in traditional ways. This study also found that traditional uses of tobacco facilitate well-being at the personal, family, and community levels; cigarette smoking appears to be unnecessary for engaging in Pow Wows and Sacred Fires; and cigarettes can interfere with traditional uses of tobacco and thereby inadvertently encourage cigarette smoking. A future where Fort William First Nation returns to using only leaf tobacco for traditional purposes was seen as a remedy to the interference posed by cigarettes. Also envisioned was nicotine- and carcinogen-free tobacco for traditional use.
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