A young Lakota mother tells how her grandmother quit smoking to honor and protect her new great-granddaughter. Classic storytelling format; wise, with a touch of humor.
[Young Lakota mother:] I quit smoking when I found out I was pregnant.
Everyone told me it would be bad for my child.
At one time, almost everyone in our family was addicted to tobacco. My grandmother was a chain smoker for 30 years!
Then, right after Carli was born, Grandma she said she wanted to tell us all a story to honor little Carli’s new life.
She told us about a sneaky rich guy who wants our people to forget our sacred ways. Instead, he wants us to smoke and chew his kind of tobacco, just for fun.
Sometimes, he even makes his tobacco look like ours by putting a picture of an Indian Chief smoking a pipe on his package.
He also gives free money and free gifts at rodeos and pow wows just so he can put his signs up and make us think that his tobacco is our tobacco.
Grandma said, “He is doing this because lots of people have stopped using his tobacco. He’s afraid that if he can’t get our people addicted, he will run out of money. Someday this guy will try to use one of us to get Carli addicted, too—that’s the way he does it. And that’s why today, I’m kicking this guy’s butt.”
Then, she threw her pack of cigs on the ground and smashed it with her foot.