Tobacco use has been dropping in Minnesota for years, but there is one community where nicotine addiction remains stronger than ever.
“In the Upper Midwest, the smoking rate among mainstream Minnesotans is about 14%,” said Adam Kintopf, senior communications manager for the anti-smoking nonprofit ClearWay Minnesota. “Among American Indians, however, the smoking rate is 59%. These are communities that are experiencing really high rates of cancer, heart disease, any number of tobacco-related diseases. It is a big priority for us to do work where it’s needed most.”
ClearWay had already worked with Twin Cities PBS to produce other documentary programs about the tobacco industry, so the staff decided that they would like to produce a documentary that focused on traditional tobacco’s roots in Native communities, and on Native-led efforts to encourage community members to turn their backs on the use of commercial tobacco.
The resulting production, titled “Reclaiming Sacred Tobacco,” was produced by Leya Hale, a St. Paul-based Dakota/Diné filmmaker with experience working on Native-led anti-smoking campaigns.
Read the story at MinnPost.
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