Tobacco was one of the most important Cherokee Indian ceremonial plants. It was considered a gift from the Creator and tobacco smoke was considered a means of carrying the smoker’s prayers to God. Tobacco leaves were smoked at ceremonies, rituals and important social events. In Cherokee mythology, the hummingbird brought tobacco to the Cherokee.
Tobacco was smoked at councils, which democratically debated the beginning of war, as well as at the councils which brought the end to war. It was smoked at the welcoming of any distinguished visitor to the tribe; it was used to place on fires to divine the future, according to the direction the wind would blow the smoke. Pipes used for smoking tobacco were themselves considered highly sacred.
For more information about the Cherokee Indian history and traditions, visit www.cherokeemuseum.org.