This report intends to highlight tribally-based strategies developed over a 10-year period through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) formerly funded national Tribal Support Centers and through ClearWay Minnesota’s Tribal Tobacco Education and Policy (TTEP) grant initiatives. The CDC’s Tribal Support Centers were charged with advancing commercial tobacco control in tribal and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities across the country, and the TTEP initiative worked on advancing commercial tobacco-free policies on tribal lands in Minnesota. Both projects have worked to promote health in Indian Country for at least eight to 10 years, working to reduce the harm of commercial tobacco and restoring traditional tobacco practices. It is crucial that we acknowledge that tobacco exists in two ways in American Indian communities. Commercial tobacco use causes death and disease and is marketed for profit. Traditional tobacco use honors the Creator and is governed by cultural and ceremonial protocols.
Shannon Laing, Associate Program Director for MPHI’s Center for Healthy Communities, served on the advisory group for this report.