“Dzil nat'oh is the traditional healer's tobacco” : The history, impact and role of culturally relevant policies to curb the use of commercial tobacco in the Navajo ceremonial setting
Navajo traditional healers have long regarded dzil nat’oh as a sacred plant for the Navajo people –a gift from Diyiin Diné (the holy people or deities) that spiritually connects them to the Navajo people through songs, prayers, and ceremonial practices. Yet, the use of commercial tobacco in and around Navajo ceremonial settings has become more commonplace. Specifically, commercial tobacco is sometimes mixed with dzil nát’oh or non-commercial herb during the ceremony and or smoked socially by ceremony participants before and after the ceremony. Objectives: The NCI-funded “Networks Among Tribal Organizations for Clean Air Policies (NATO CAP)” partnered with the largest Navajo traditional healer association to understand the history, role, and impact of the use of commercial tobacco during the ceremonial setting and the recent attempts by traditional healers to control the use of commercial tobacco through policy. Methods: Through digital story telling and oral history techniques Navajo researchers conducted 15 interviews with Navajo traditional healers representing distinct tobacco-based healing ceremonies. Results: A series of educational vignettes were developed to communicate traditional healers perspectives on the influence of commercial tobacco dating back to WWII and the cultural revitalization and preservation policies required to challenge and curb the use of commercial tobacco during the ceremonial setting and in everyday life. Conclusion: The use or replacement of commercial tobacco for non-commercial herb tobacco during the ceremony and the social use of commercial cigarettes may increase exposure to second hand smoke among Navajo people and require policies respectful of religious and cultural protocols.
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Describe the role and impact of commercial tobacco on the Navajo traditional ceremony and the culturally relevant policies to curb the use of commercial tobacco.
Keyword(s): Tobacco Control
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Navajo researcher, designed the research project and conducted data collection and analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.