Decolonization of Tobacco in Indigenous Communities of Turtle Island (North America)

Patricia Nez Henderson*, Juliet P. Lee, Claradina Soto, Rae O′leary, Emma Rutan, Joanne D′silva, Andrew Waa, Zahlanii P. Henderson, Shanoa S. Nez, Raglan Maddox

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Indigenous peoples represent a diversity of cultures, perspectives, languages, experiences, and protocols that bring tremendous vibrancy across Turtle Island, commonly known as North America. We acknowledge the diversity of practices among these peoples, especially in their relationship with tobacco. The colonization of Turtle Island, which escalated after Christopher Columbus accidentally came unto the lands of the Arawakan people of the Caribbean, not only alteredand continues to alterthe culture, language, and traditions of the original inhabitants of this land, but it also has modified how tobacco is discussed.1 Colonization is the action(s) or process(es) of settling and establishing control over the respective Indigenous peoples of the land, in this case across Turtle Island. Colonization also determines whose values and knowledges are privileged. This commentary discusses the impact of colonization on tobacco, the introduction of commercial tobacco, the relationship between tobacco and Indigenous populations, as well as the harmful influence this exchange has on Indigenous health and well-being. Decolonizing tobacco seeks to actively reverse and remedy the colonization of tobacco, through direct action, listening, and privileging Indigenous voices and peoples. This is consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)289-291
    Number of pages3
    JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


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